Pennsylvania German Artifacts
One distinct feature of the Berman Museum permanent collection is the Pennsylvania German Folk Art and Archives. Ursinus College is located near the heart of the Pennsylvania German and Dutch community, and its origins lie deep in the Pennsylvania German heritage of Church Germans and Mennonites in southeastern Pennsylvania. It is fitting that the Berman Museum of Art celebrate these roots and values by preserving the folk culture tradition in a formal collection of books, fraktur, artifacts, documents, and material objects.
The origins of this collection lay in the work of Alfred L. Shoemaker, Walter E. Boyer, and Don Yoder who built a Folk culture program in Lancaster, Pa., which developed in to the Pennsylvania Folklife Society. In 1968 the Shoemaker-Boyer-Yoder operation, with its artifacts and archives, was donated to Ursinus College.
The Pennsylvania German Archives consist of religious and political broadsides, almanacs, German and American imprints, account ledgers, Bibles, hymnbooks, musical compositions, printed folktales and the Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Culture Card File. The Fraktur collection numbers over 100 and includes geburtsund-taufscheine (births and baptismal) certificates, marriage documents, Vorschrift (writing exercises), and bookmarks or awards of merit. Other artifacts include handcarved wood kitchen utensils such as buttermolds, bowls, plates and buckets, forged iron farm implements, distinctive redware pottery, a rare and valuable punched-tin coffee pot and pie-safe doors, chalkware animals, primitive watercolor paintings, woven baskets, handpainted eggs, children's toys, and exquisite handstitched quilts, coverlets, and bedclothes.