The Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center is a complex of historic buildings that include the 19th century Sharadin Farmstead, an 1830s one-room schoolhouse, and two log homes dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The mission of the center is to preserve and disseminate information on the culture and history of the Pennsylvania German folk culture.
The volunteers of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center are essential in meeting the preservation needs of the institution. The center's small staff has found it difficult to complete the needed maintenance and preservation work at the site, and volunteers have completed many large scale projects that would have otherwise remained undone. For instance, the complete restoration of one of the log homes was made possible only through the help of volunteers. This project included painting and installing windows and doors, laying a floor, rebuilding and installing stairs, and rebuilding an enclosure to the winder staircase that was installed. Other such projects have included the entire restoration of our outdoor garden and restoration of a drive-through corn crib.
Volunteers also serve as docents who help interpret the Pennsylvania German culture through tours, and participation and planning of public events and workshops. These events, which draw more than 1,500 visitors a year, build on the interpretation offered in tours by offering hands-on and interactive folk life and folk craft demonstrations.
The Center is a component of Kutztown University, and the school's Pennsylvania German Studies program is a source of student volunteers. Students have participated in restoration projects and as docents, collections assistants, and event demonstrators.
Designated a Preserve America Steward in February 2010.