A new exhibit entitled Opportunity and Conscience: Mennonite Immigration to Pennsylvania opens at the Mennonite Heritage Center tomorrow, Saturday, April 1, and will be on display through March 31, 2018. Hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday through Friday, and Saturday 10am-2pm. Admission is a suggested $5.00 donation. There is handicap access, and special tours can be scheduled.
ALSO, don’t miss your chance at a ticket (only 23 left!) to our special Heritage Banquet on April 28, where recent immigrants will share their stories, faith, and food, alongside “Frederick Alderfer” an 18th century immigrant who will revive and present his story in the new exhibit. CLICK HERE to reserve tickets.
Three hundred years ago, in August 1717, three boatloads of Palatine Germans arrived in the port of Philadelphia, including numerous Mennonite families. This was the first large group of Mennonites to immigrate to Pennsylvania.
In recognition of this anniversary, the Mennonite Heritage Center has mounted this special year-long exhibit, highlighting the experience of 18th century Mennonite immigrants, their motivations and process of migration, and how they settled in eastern Pennsylvania. The exhibit includes a fascinating simulation by local craftsman Earl Ludwig of a passenger compartment on an 18th century immigrant ship, and a depiction of a Stube (or parlor/living room) in an early immigrant home, furnished with original artifacts of the 18th century. Enlargements of scenes and images from the period further illustrate the theme.
Another feature of the exhibit is a collection of stories of recent immigrants to the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys, some of whom have connected with local Mennonite churches. Many similarities can be observed between the motivation and experience of today’s immigrants and those of the 18th century from whom many Americans are descended.
Throughout the year, our blog will feature stories and artifacts related to families descended from 18th century Mennonite immigrants under the title “Our Immigrant Heritage”. In addition, programs are planned on themes of immigration.