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January 2021

Neversink: Reading’s Other Mountain

January 9, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

Local Historian Paul Druzba tells the story of the "resort years" on Neversink from 1890-1930, a time which saw the building of an eight-mile water-powered electric railway on the mountain, as well as several fantastic resort hotels and recreation areas. This is a follow-up presentation to two hikes of Neversink Mountain during the fall of 2020. Those who did not attend the hikes are welcome to attend.   This event will be hosted on Zoom. Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TPe0NZLDTgqDq25DJutr1Q

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February 2021

Important Update: The Civil War Soldier’s Orphans’ Schools of PA

February 13, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

Emeritus Archivist at Bethany's Children's Home, Carl Bloss, explores the hidden history of the Soldier's Orphans' Schools implemented by the State of PA to care for and educate the many orphaned children of the Civil War; In 1863, Bethany Orphan's Home had already accepted many soldier's orphans before this program expanded to include 43 institutions across the state.   This event will be hosted on Zoom.   Important Program Update: Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances, we must postpone the program.…

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March 2021

Pennsylvania’s Justice Bell

March 13, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

The Berks Suffrage 2020 Centennial continues its celebration with an informative presentation by Amanda Owen, Executive Director of the Justice Bell Foundation, who educates the significance of the Justice Bell in not only Berks County but the State of PA as a whole. This "Other Liberty Bell" was unique in that PA was the only state to create a bell with its clapper secured from ringing until women gained the right to vote. A replica of the Justice Bell is…

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April 2021

“Help Yourself and God Will Help You” – The Birth, Life & Death of the C.S.S. Alabama

April 10, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

"Help Yourself and God Will Help You" was stamped in French in bronze letters on the ships' wheel of the Confederate Raider, CSS Alabama. This program will focus on the intrigue and characters in the birth of the ship and its eventual campaign of destruction, and it's very interesting connection to another famous American. Register now to join us for this compelling presentation given by Joe Schaeffer, Charter Member and Former President of the Berks County First Defenders Civil War…

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May 2021

House Blessing Inscriptions: A Pennsylvania Dutch Tradition of Establishment

May 8, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

This presentation, given by Patrick Donmoyer, Director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, features a survey of architectural stone inscriptions and date plaques, with parallels found in written and printed blessings used in the home. A wide range of German-language blessing inscriptions ranging from Berks, Lebanon, and Lehigh will be explained, each with an English-language equivalent, as well as their biblical and historical significance. The history of these inscriptions is traced through the building and stone-carving…

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June 2021

No Fat Above the Collar

June 12, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Zoom

Historian Michael Shay discusses the life and career of Lt. General Hunter Ligget, a Berks County Native son, who rose through the ranks to lead the First Army, AEF in World War One.   This event will be hosted on Zoom. Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RYa0tCMESNCGb3US56m79A  

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September 2021

9/11 Day of Remembrance with Rodney Loose

September 11, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Berks History Center, 940 Centre Avenue
Reading, PA 19601 United States

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were the deadliest in our nation's history. Join us as we commemorate this tragic day on its 20th anniversary with former FBI Agent Rodney Loose, a native of Berks County and one of the heroic first responders on the scene. Rodney will be sharing his own pictures and experiences, along with showing a short movie that pays tribute to the NY Police officers and first responders. This program will be held in person,…

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November 2021

Remembrances of the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion

November 13, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Berks History Center, 940 Centre Avenue
Reading, PA 19601 United States

BHC welcomes historian Ed Matten, as he chronicles his visit to Normandy in June of 2019 by presenting two videos along with discussion. In addition, Ed will share interviews of WWII veterans, recordings from General Eisenhower, old stills, guided tours by experts of this momentous historical event, and the very moving ceremony held with President Trump and President Macron in the Colleville-sur-Mer cemetery. This program will be held in person, inside the BHC Museum Auditorium. The cost of this program…

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December 2021

Second Saturday Program- From Penn’s Common to City Park with Rick Polityka

December 11, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Berks History Center, 940 Centre Avenue
Reading, PA 19601 United States

Trustee Richard Polityka explores the establishment of Penn’s Common in 1749 by Richard and Thomas Penn as public commons, or a place for “public recreation.”  However, County Commissioners, starting in 1800, permitted three major intrusions, the water-works, the prison grounds and the fairgrounds. This program illustrates the many changes to the park and its many current attractions including monuments, memorials and the Bandshell. This program will be held in person, inside the BHC Museum Auditorium. The cost of this program…

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January 2022

**CANCELED** Second Saturday Program- Twisted: Mindful Pretzel Consumption

January 8 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Berks History Center, 940 Centre Avenue
Reading, PA 19601 United States

Great-great-granddaughter of Julius Sturgis, author Jill Marie Thomas, presents the history of America’s oldest commercial pretzel bakery (c. 1861), which started in Lititz with their modern factory now located in Reading. With access to the Sturgis family baking industry archives, this program includes the progression of baking through the decades from the hand-twisting days to the current extrusion methods, and includes a hands-on opportunity for participants to give twisting a pretzel a try. This program will be held in person,…

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