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Berks History Center official honored for preserving Pa. Dutch language

Bradley K. Smith, assistant director and archivist of the Berks History Center, has been recognized for his work in promoting and helping to preserve the Pennsylvania Dutch language.

The center announced that Smith was presented with the Outstanding Pennsylvania German Activities Award by the Deutsch-Pennsylvanischer Arbeitskreis.

The organization, known in English as the German-Pennsylvania Association, was founded in Germany in 2003 to promote the Pennsylvania German dialect, cultural and historical research, and cultural exchange between German residents and those in the U.S. of Pennsylvania of German ancestry. It also fosters German-Pennsylvania initiatives and town partnerships, and serves as a primary point of contact for institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

“It is a tremendous honor to see our hard work recognized by the German-Pennsylvania Association,” Smith said in a release. “We sincerely appreciate the support and guidance they have provided to us since our program began in 2022.”

Patrick Donmoyer, director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, presented the award to Smith during the recent video taping of the June episode of the Pennsylvania German Hour show on BCTV.

During the episode, Smith also shared insights into his work at the center and discussed the upcoming fall semester of Pennsylvania Dutch classes.

The episode is scheduled to air June 7 on BCTV.

The award specifically recognizes Smith’s achievements in offering Pennsylvania Dutch dialect courses at the center, engaging 280 participants over 16 months and establishing a team of dialect instructors.

“It is important to note that none of our success would be possible without the passion and enthusiasm of our many dedicated students,” Smith said.

The center introduced Pennsylvania Dutch classes in fall 2022 under Smith’s guidance. The courses provide participants with an introduction to the distinctive language and customs of the Pennsylvania Dutch community. Lessons cater to individuals at all proficiency levels and appeal to language enthusiasts, history aficionados and those with a curiosity about diverse cultures.

Since the program’s inception, the center has conducted multiple semesters of classes each year. The upcoming semester is scheduled for fall 2024.

Community members interested in enrolling in the Pennsylvania Dutch classes can register online at

The cost is $70 for center members (Individual Level Members and above) and $140 for non-members.

For inquiries and additional information, contact the center at 610-375-4375, Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Source: Berkshire mont

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