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June 2020

Shotgun Resistance: Digital Second Saturday Program

June 13, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Please join us to discover the history of the construction of the Maidencreek Dam and  Lake Ontelaunee between 1925 and 1932. This special digital presentation will explore the crisis in Reading’s water supply that created the need for the project, the drama of the 1927 “Shotgun Rebellion” by local farmers whose land was ultimately under the new lake, plus the accompanying turmoil in Reading City Hall triggered by these events. Nothing like hearing about turmoil in City Hall to stir…

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September 2020

Deeds Not Words: Discovering Our Berks Suffragists

September 12, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Discover the stories of the Berks County women who worked for the woman suffrage movement locally.  Find out how RACC Associate Dean of Library Services, Mary Ellen Heckman,  used old newspapers and local records to reveal their hard work and personal lives and learn how to use these same techniques to uncover your own ancestors' lives. Click here to register. Mary Ellen Heckman is the Associate Dean of Library Services at Reading Area Community College. Mrs. Heckman is a Phi…

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October 2020

More Than Just Mrs.: The Importance of Women in Family History

October 10, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 pm

Often people researching their family history focus on male relatives or see female ancestors as appendages to their husbands.  This presentation will discuss how researching the women in your family tree--mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc.--can help you better understand your family's heritage.  Please join us on Saturday, October 10th at 10 AM   Click here to register for the program:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vZ2bcVIHRzuuIHx2sPgd1g Dr. Karen Guenther is a native of Berks County and currently is a Professor of History at Mansfield University.  She…

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November 2020

The 18th Century Reading Amish Congregation & The Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead

November 14, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Did you know that there were Amish in Reading back in the 1700s? Have you ever wondered what happened to them? For answers to your questions, tune in to this lecture by Nic Stoltzfus, a descendant of one of the Amish families who lived in Reading in the late 1700s. His lecture will focus on the Stoltzfus family, their immigration journey from Germany to Pennsylvania, and their move to Berks County; he will also talk about the Nicholas Stoltzfus Homestead in Wyomissing…

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December 2020

Christmas on Penn Street: A Photographic History

December 12, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Take a nostalgic, virtual "walk" down Penn Street with Berks History Center Trustee and volunteer, Richard Polityka. Enjoy the images of "Old Reading" and remember Penn Street as it was on Christmas years ago with a photographic history. (Photo by Ben Hasty, courtesy of the Reading Eagle) This is a free event to attend, but please consider a donation to the Berks History Center! Make a donation by clicking here! Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iIBB7uqKR9KyleGihd-RTQ

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January 2021

Neversink: Reading’s Other Mountain

January 9 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

"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 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

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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