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January 2021

Neversink: Reading’s Other Mountain

January 9 @ 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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America’s Roots & Folk Music: The History, Myths and Lore

January 21 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom

During this one hour broadcast, local musician and entertainer, Dave Kline, presents a fascinating look into the legacy of songwriters, musicians and the situations that helped them connect with a worldwide audience. Participants are encouraged to tune in and interact during the live concert by asking questions and leaving comments using the chat feature.   This is a free event that will take place on Zoom. Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_u2Frfe-DSMWOJw9XZzcMgA   Please consider making a donation to Berks History Center to…

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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
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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The Same Principle Lives in Us: People of African Descent in the American Revolution

February 18 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom

American Revolutionaries struggled with a key question: would the words of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal,” apply to all people?” From the outbreak of the Revolution, people of African descent asked and answered this question through their words and actions. In this talk, hear the stories and explore the objects that we use at the Museum to help imagine what the Revolution was like for Phillis Wheatley, Elizabeth Freeman, James Forten, Harry Washington, and others.…

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March 2021

Pennsylvania’s Justice Bell

March 13 @ 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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Problems That Confronted the First Women Jurors in Berks County

March 18 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom

Trustee, author, and retired attorney Brian C. Engelhardt, Esq., explores the difficulties that women jurors faced following the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women suffrage in 1920, as well as passage of legislation in Pennsylvania which specifically guaranteed to women the right of jury service. However problems of getting the names of women on the jury roll proved monumental- but not nearly as challenging as finding the ladies’ room within the existing courthouse, as there were none –…

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German Heritage & Heirlooms: Discover How Your Story Matters

March 19 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Zoom

Once again Heinz History Center and "Unlock Your History" join the BHC in this second joint archival workshop that explores hand-written documents, heirlooms, genealogy, transcription and history to demonstrate the importance of your personal story. Anyone can decipher hidden clues within documents found in your attic. This workshop will provide guidance about where to get more help as well as options to care for those artifacts.   This event will be hosted on Zoom. Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QHsXYBDIQrm2WwDFCuXeZA

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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
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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George Washington Sat Here, Honest: Proving (and Debunking) Berks County Artifact Legends through Provenance Research

April 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Zoom

The BHC collection includes a surprising array of artifacts with fantastic, unbelievable stories attached to them. Join Bradley Smith, former Curator of the BHC, as he discusses his favorite Berks County legend. Currently he is the Program Director at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg, PA, and an adjunct History Professor at Alvernia University in Reading, PA.   This event is free to the public and will take place on Zoom. Pre-registration required. You can register using this link:…

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May 2021

House Blessing Inscriptions: A Pennsylvania Dutch Tradition of Establishment

May 8 @ 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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