Summer PA Dutch classes begin at Berks History Center

The Berks History Center has brought back its popular new Pennsylvania Dutch classes teaching participants the language and culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The Summer 2023 semester begins Tuesday, May 30, 2023, and will run for eight weeks. BHC is offering two Pennsylvania Dutch course levels with an in-person or online option. Online classes are held via Zoom and in-person classes take place at the BHC Historical Society Museum, 940 Centre Avenue, Reading, Pa.,19601.

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Pennsylvania Dutch is an American language that developed from the immigration of German speakers to colonial Pennsylvania. While speaking PA Dutch is not as widespread as it once was, the tradition is still upheld by both native and non-native speakers. Enrolling in a PA Dutch class at the BHC offers a fun opportunity to celebrate and preserve this rich cultural heritage.

BHC began offering in-person beginner PA Dutch classes in the fall of 2022. During their Winter 2023 semester, BHC broadened its offerings to include online classes. Due to increasing demand, the organization has expanded its program yet again for the Summer 2023 semester to include both beginner and intermediate courses and introduce participants to two new class instructors.

Course instructors will include BHC Assistant Director, Bradley Smith of Schaefferstown, Pa., Schoenersville, Pa. native and former University of Pennsylvania faculty member, Kevin Sterner, and Ethan Rode, a professional linguist from Mohnton, Pa.

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“With over 130 students enrolled in our Winter 2023 classes, we have been amazed by the public enthusiasm for this program,” said Smith. “We are excited to offer a new semester of courses, including brand-new intermediate classes.”

“BHC is also very grateful to our new instructors, Kevin Sterner and Ethan Rode,” continued Smith. “Both gentlemen are from Pa. Dutch families and have studied and practiced the language for years. They will be incredible resources for our new and returning students.”

Community members interested in BHC’s PA Dutch classes must register online by Thursday, May 25, 2023, at Classes cost $70 for BHC members (Individual Level Members and above) and $140 for non-members. For questions and more information, call BHC at 610-375-4375 during their hours of operation, Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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