2019 Lecture Series

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Hex Signs: Sacred and Celestial Symbolism in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn StarS

Friday, March 1, 2019
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Free Admission

Refreshments begin at 3:30 pm; illustrated presentation and Q&A from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Time will be provided to explore the exhibition on your own and to meet Patrick Donmoyer.

This presentation is a photographic introduction to Glencairn’s featured exhibition of Pennsylvania barn art curated by Patrick J. Donmoyer, Director of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. Based on over a decade of field research throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania in six counties, Donmoyer’s survey of decorated Pennsylvania barns reveals a diverse and colorful tradition of folk art that has persisted to the present day, overlapping with many other artistic, ritual, and architectural traditions. In addition, the content of the designs will be compared to trends in Pennsylvania German folklore, especially as it pertains to beliefs and practices associated with the agricultural lifestyle, religious expression, and observations of the heavens. Donmoyer is the author of Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars (2013).

Glencairn Museum’s exhibition, Hex Signs: Sacred and Celestial Symbolism in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars, features actual examples of barn stars, decorated objects, and related images. This is the second collaborative exhibition between Glencairn and the Heritage Center at Kutztown University. The first exhibition, in 2017, was titled, Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Healing Rituals of the Dutch Country.

The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University is a folklife museum and research center on the Kutztown Campus. Patrick Donmoyer is a fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch and advocate for regional folk culture. His folklife research blends language, traditions, and vernacular architecture. Patrick is the President of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania and the author of numerous articles and books. His most recent work is on the ritual healing traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch: Powwowing in Pennsylvania: Braucherei & the Ritual of Everyday Life (2017).

2018 Lecture Series

“The Words Peace and Justice and Why Peacemakers are Blessed (but only sometimes)”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
7:00 pm

Free Admission.

Presented in partnership with the History and Social Sciences Department at Bryn Athyn College
Sponsored by The Cole Foundation for Renewing the Culture

In this talk, William Ian Miller considers terms for peace and justice in order to get at contemporary society’s approach to them as concepts. Framed by biblical texts, Miller traces origins and developments in several historical cultures drawing on a wide range of sources: literary, historical, legal, and religious. His analysis reveals the light and dark sides to our notions of justice and how we think it best achieved. Rich in insight and humor, Dr. Miller’s lecture promises to be engaging and informative.

William Ian Miller (Ph.D., J.D.) is the Thomas G. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law school. The author of numerous influential books and articles, Dr. Miller’s publications include Hrafnkel or the Ambiguities: Hard Cases, Hard Choices (2017); Why is your Axe Bloody? (2014); Losing it (2011); Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business (2008); Eye for an Eye (2006); Faking It (2003); The Mystery of Courage (2000); The Anatomy of Disgust (1997); and Humiliation (1993).

2017 Lecture Series

Ritual Healing Traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch: A Talk with Patrick Donmoyer

Saturday, April 1, 2017
3:30 PM

$10 Adults, $8 Seniors/Students with ID, free for Museum Members.

As an expression of faith and identity, cultures throughout the world engage in ritual as an effective means to create and define meaningful interactions, spaces and outcomes. This talk will explore the historical and cultural roots of traditional customs, rituals, and folkways known among the Pennsylvania Dutch as Braucherei, or powwowing. Blessings, inscriptions, objects, and procedures will provide an overview of ritual traditions used primarily for the healing and protection of humans and their domesticated animals. Descriptions of powwowing throughout three centuries will demonstrate the ways in which ritual is still very much an active force in the present, human endeavor to heal physical and existential concerns and satisfy the hunger for meaning in everyday life.

Patrick Donmoyer, formerly of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is the Director at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University, a folklife museum and research center on the Kutztown Campus. A fluent speaker of Pennsylvania Dutch and advocate for regional folk culture, Patrick’s work blends language, ritual traditions, and vernacular architecture in his folklife research. He is the author of numerous articles, and two books, the most recent of which is entitled "Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars" (2013), as well as "Der Freund in der Noth, or The Friend in Need: An Annotated Translation of an Early Pennsylvania Folk-Healing Manual" (2012). He also edited the posthumous work of Dr. Don Yoder, Father of the American Folklife Studies movement, entitled: "The German Bible in America" (2016), as well as the 25th Anniversary Edition of Dr. Yoder's folklife manifesto, "Discovering American Folklife" (2015), and dedicated an exhibition catalog entitled "Powwowing in Pennsylvania" (2015) to the legacy of Dr. Yoder. He is currently completing a forthcoming book, lecture series, and traveling exhibition on the ritual traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch.