The Pennsylvania Dutch, or Pennsylvania German, heritage still thrives in southeastern Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. There, PA Dutch sects trace their heritage to the German-speaking lands in Europe before 1870 when the present-day Germany country boundaries were defined. Many immigrants sought religious freedom in the United States. The majority of the new arrivals were Lutherans and members of the German Reformed Church, now the United Church of Christ, explains Folklorist Don Yoder, who founded the first graduate folk life program in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania. “One of the bad misconceptions is that the Pennsylvania Dutch are all Amish,” he says. “The Amish are only 5 percent of the total population in Pennsylvania Dutch Country.” Many of the art forms practiced in Europe were reinterpreted in rural Pennsylvania. “I think people relate to them instantly because they have this engaging, playful quality,” says Philadelphia Museum of Art Curator David Barquist.

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