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Pennsylvania German Dialect

Pennsylvania German dialect, commonly known as “Pennsylvania Dutch,” is prevalent among Old Order Amish and Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania. Historically, however, it was spoken widely by Lutheran, Reformed and other groups of German immigrants and it is currently used in Old Order communities as far west as Wisconsin.

Spring 2015
  • Beginning Dialect
    Saturdays, March 7 – May 16, 10:00 AM–12:00 PM
  • Intermediate Dialect
    Thursdays, March 11–May 13, 7:00–9:00 PM
Fall 2015
  • Beginning Dialect
    Wednesdays, September 16–November 18, 7:00–9:00 PM
  • Intermediate Dialect
    Thursdays, September 17–November 19, 7:00–9:00 PM

Saturday, March 14, 6 - 8:30 pm

Pies in the Mennonite Tradition

Everybody loves pie, one of the greatest and most versatile food. Come to the Society Friday evening and enjoy a slice or two from a wide selection of pies, along with a good cup of coffee! Do you want to learn how to make a good crust? Pie bakers will be on hand to demonstrate the art. During this onetime event, all cookbooks will be 20% off.

Tickets cost $15 or $20 for 2; available at the door.

Saturday, April 18, 5 pm

Folk Art Tour and Pa. Dutch Dinner

Join us for a tour of Lancaster County Old Order Mennonite Folk Arts featuring extended Hoover family farms and shops. Buck wagons will ferry us to see painters, carvers and woodworkers through bucolic rural settings. The evening will conclude with a Pennsylvania Dutch dinner in the home of Mary Hoover. 

Register by April 11.


To Register

  • Click the "Add to Cart" button after any class above. Add an LMHS membership to receive a discount on each class. When you're finished, click the "View Cart" button here. (Your payment will be processed by PayPal, but you don't need a PayPal membership to register.)
  • Or give us a call. We accept credit card payments over the phone, Tuesday–Saturday, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM at (717) 393-9745.

Past Classes

January 17, 2015, 9:00 – 12:00 at LMHS

Fraktur I: A taste for fraktur

Fraktur is a distinctly American folk art dating back to the mid 1700s and was an important part of Pennsylvania German culture. the traditional motifs of birds, flowers, and hearts are rendered in ink, accompanied by ornate calligraphy, then painted in watercolor.

This class will begin with a presentation on fraktur, its history and three different styles from southeastern Pennsylvania, with special emphasis on its role in Mennonite culture. Then Emily Smucker-Beidler will demonstrate the use of ink and watercolor specific to the craft. During the latter portion of the class, students will spend time creating their own small fraktur piece. The class will focus on the imagery for fraktur, rather than calligraphy.

Materials are included in the cost of registration.

February 7, 2015,  9:00 – 12:00 - at LMHS

Grain Painting

Learn how to add the rich look of wood to your next project with this class on false graining techniques taught by Jim King, local fancy painter. 

Materials are included in the cost of registration.

Febraury 28, 2015, 9:00 – 12:00 at LMHS

Fraktur II: The illuminated letter

Fraktur II focuses on learning lettering and calligraphy within the context and history of fraktur. You will learn to use a nib pen and india ink. Emily Smucker-Beidler will also discuss modern adaptations of fraktur calligraphy.

If you have taken Fraktur I: A taste of fraktur, continue your study of a fascinating and historic craft (and be sure to bring your kit of materials). If you have never delved into fraktur, you are still welcome to study this unique style of calligraphy.

A materials kit is included in the cost of tuition. If you wish to purchase a kit of painting supplies from Fraktur I, they are available for an additional $15.

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Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
2215 Millstream Rd
Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
United States
 Map & Directions

Phone: (717) 393-9745
Fax: (717) 393-8751

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed major holidays.
All facilities are accessible.

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