Kutztown University and the KU Foundation hosted a dedication ceremony for the DeLight E. Breidegam Building: Headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center on Thursday, September 29, 2022.
“As we cut this ribbon today and dedicate this facility, I wish to emphasize that our work as a museum and cultural center has only just begun,” said Patrick Donmoyer, director of the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center. “While we have reached a state of completion for the physical infrastructure of the Heritage Center, the work ahead of us is immense, as we work to organize and catalogue significant portions of our research collections that have until now laid dormant in storage, consisting of thousands of books, manuscripts, documents and multimedia recordings.”
The Center is named for DeLight E. Breidegam Jr., co-founder of East Penn Manufacturing, philanthropist and enthusiast of Pennsylvania German culture. His son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Mary Breidegam, were present for the dedication, along with many family members and employees of East Penn Manufacturing.
This newly-renovated building houses the Heritage Center’s world-class research collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, documents, ephemera and artifacts acquired since the establishment of the Center in 1991.
This state-of-the-art research library will be open to students, faculty, visiting researchers and the public, allowing access to this unique collection showcasing four centuries of the Pennsylvania German cultural presence in the region.
“From my first weeks on the job, I wanted to work with the KU Foundation and (Donmoyer) to do all I could to enhance the impact of the Heritage Center,” said Kutztown University president Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson. “I am delighted to celebrate this major accomplishment in preserving Pennsylvania German culture.”
“This Center and new headquarters are not just about the past and present,” said Dr. Jennifer Schlegel, member of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center Advisory Board and associate professor of anthropology who researches Pennsylvania German language and culture and teaches in the Pennsylvania German Studies minor.
“This enhanced Center is about the opportunities our future students and community members will have to engage in experiential learning, with hands-on opportunities for creativity, for research and data analysis, for presentations, for learning with others and from others, for finding a calling and for telling their own stories of discovery, engagement and identity.”
“This day puts the spotlight on a truly unique institution, which is devoted to preserving German legacy in this wonderful part of the United States and to making it accessible to the public,” said German Consul General David Gill, who was present for the dedication.