German-American Heritage Foundation and Museum

German-American Heritage Foundation and Museum The German-American Heritage Museum of the USA tells the story of all Americans of German-speaking ancestry and how they helped shape our great nation.

Entry to the museum ranges from $5/person to $10/person, depending on the current exhibit.

Operating as usual

Stay tuned for our humourous video guide "How To Oktoberfest", which will premiere next week.In the meantime, discover h...
09/17/2021
How Oktoberfest Became a Worldwide Sensation | Wine Enthusiast

Stay tuned for our humourous video guide "How To Oktoberfest", which will premiere next week.
In the meantime, discover how the Oktoberfest became a worldwide phenomenon in this Wine Enthusiast magazine article. The writer interviewed our executive director Katja Sipple who regaled him with historic anecdotes and personal insights. https://www.winemag.com/2021/09/07/oktoberfest-history-beer-german/

Oktoberfest started as a quaint celebration in Germany the 1800s. Explore how the Munich beer festival grew into a global phenomenon.

In normal years, the second half of September signals the start of Bavaria's fifth season: the annual Oktoberfest, the w...
09/16/2021

In normal years, the second half of September signals the start of Bavaria's fifth season: the annual Oktoberfest, the world's biggest festival. Bavarians lovingly refer to it as d'Wiesn, short for Theresienwiese, the location of this world-famous event that began as the public celebration of the nuptials of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria with Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. In addition to food and beer, the crowd partook in a horse race that took place on a wide open grassy field. After a short break due to the Napoleonic War of 1813, the Oktoberfest continued in 1814. Swings, a bowling alley, and merry-go-rounds soon followed. Since 1850, the imposing statue of Bavaria watches over festival goers as they drink Märzen and eat Wiesn delicacies. By the way, the famous Wiesn-Hendl, or grilled chicken, was first served in 1881. The first large festival tent followed in 1898, and by then the Wiesn had already taken on the format we know today including the shift into September to enjoy the sunny and warm days of Bavaria's Altweibersommer or Indian summer. Horse racing is no longer a part of the program, but carriage horses pulling large wagons laden with beer barrels are still a tradition. In 2010, as the Wiesn celebrated its 200th anniversary, a more traditional version called "Oide Wiesn" was organized and proved so popular with visitors that it too became an annual event.
Unfortunately, the city of Munich had to cancel the event in 2020 and 2021, but those of you who want to get ready for a visit to the authentic Wiesn should watch out for our series of entertaining videos "How to Oktoberfest".

GAHF/GAHM remembers and honors all the victims and heroes of 9/11, including brave German-Americans such as FDNY Commiss...
09/11/2021

GAHF/GAHM remembers and honors all the victims and heroes of 9/11, including brave German-Americans such as FDNY Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeifer, and his brother LT Kevin Pfeifer, who lost his life in the North Tower.

Starting this month and until September 2022, we want to bring some of the treasures of our museum directly to you. We a...
09/10/2021

Starting this month and until September 2022, we want to bring some of the treasures of our museum directly to you. We are kicking off this new program with a lovely and nostalgic custom: Poetry booklets or Poesiealben in German.

Poetry booklets, small, bound volumes with blank pages meant to be filled by friends and relatives, have enjoyed centuries of popularity in Germany. Our book is 108 years old, and belonged to a young girl from Langeneck, Bavaria, not far from the Austrian border, who immigrated to the US after World War I. This book was a present for her Catholic confirmation ceremony, which means she was probably about 12 or 13 years old when she received it.

The practice of poetry books dates back to the 1500s when aristocrats and wealthy citizens began to leave their names, coats of arms, and a motto in a so-called Album Amicorum, or friendship book. University students would invite their professors to compose a greeting--often in Greek or Latin--accompanied by an allegorical drawing. The custom soon spread, and by the 18th century, greetings, short poems, either self-composed or borrowed from a famous writer, as well as literary quotes accompanied by drawings had replaced the mottos of earlier years. Poetry books had their heyday in the 19th century when members of literary circles commemorated themselves with verses and artistic creations along with pressed flowers and even locks of hair. In the 1880s, scrap pictures also became popular along with a short poem or proverb, and even young children had poetry books that they would give to their friends, teachers, and relatives. The custom remains somewhat popular today, although trends come and go, and even young people take it seriously enough to get out their fountain pens, draw thin lines in pencil to ensure an even script, and decorate their chosen pages with drawings, or more likely adhesive stickers.

Starting this month and until September 2022, we want to bring some of the treasures of our museum directly to you. We are kicking off this new program with a lovely and nostalgic custom: Poetry booklets or Poesiealben in German.

Poetry booklets, small, bound volumes with blank pages meant to be filled by friends and relatives, have enjoyed centuries of popularity in Germany. Our book is 108 years old, and belonged to a young girl from Langeneck, Bavaria, not far from the Austrian border, who immigrated to the US after World War I. This book was a present for her Catholic confirmation ceremony, which means she was probably about 12 or 13 years old when she received it.

The practice of poetry books dates back to the 1500s when aristocrats and wealthy citizens began to leave their names, coats of arms, and a motto in a so-called Album Amicorum, or friendship book. University students would invite their professors to compose a greeting--often in Greek or Latin--accompanied by an allegorical drawing. The custom soon spread, and by the 18th century, greetings, short poems, either self-composed or borrowed from a famous writer, as well as literary quotes accompanied by drawings had replaced the mottos of earlier years. Poetry books had their heyday in the 19th century when members of literary circles commemorated themselves with verses and artistic creations along with pressed flowers and even locks of hair. In the 1880s, scrap pictures also became popular along with a short poem or proverb, and even young children had poetry books that they would give to their friends, teachers, and relatives. The custom remains somewhat popular today, although trends come and go, and even young people take it seriously enough to get out their fountain pens, draw thin lines in pencil to ensure an even script, and decorate their chosen pages with drawings, or more likely adhesive stickers.

Check out our beautiful pianos, played by our intern Maeve, which are part of our permanent collection. The Wurlitzer ba...
09/01/2021

Check out our beautiful pianos, played by our intern Maeve, which are part of our permanent collection. The Wurlitzer baby grand piano (ca. 1930) is a gift from Wendy Wurlitzer, and the upright piano came to us courtesy of Sharon Lina Pearce. It was manufactured in Baltimore by German immigrant Charles M. Stieff, and purchased by John Herman Heinrich Rolker for his daughter for $325 (more than $10,000 in today's money).

https://youtu.be/T1qApjVWnE4

Today, we are continuing with our series featuring German-American soldiers: Clement August Trott. This Milwaukee native...
08/18/2021

Today, we are continuing with our series featuring German-American soldiers: Clement August Trott. This Milwaukee native and son of German immigrants was born in 1877, and learnt the value of hard work and perseverance at a young age. It was this mindset that took him to West Point, and eventually into the trenches of WWI. His bravery earned him the Army's Distinguished Service Medal, and he stayed on active duty for 42 years. We want to thank our summer intern Thomas Crain from Michigan State University who inspired and wrote these profiles. We will add to them as time permits, but in the meantime, visit https://gahmusa.org/clement-trott/ to learn more about another war hero.

Today, we are continuing with our series featuring German-American soldiers: Clement August Trott. This Milwaukee native and son of German immigrants was born in 1877, and learnt the value of hard work and perseverance at a young age. It was this mindset that took him to West Point, and eventually into the trenches of WWI. His bravery earned him the Army's Distinguished Service Medal, and he stayed on active duty for 42 years. We want to thank our summer intern Thomas Crain from Michigan State University who inspired and wrote these profiles. We will add to them as time permits, but in the meantime, visit https://gahmusa.org/clement-trott/ to learn more about another war hero.

With the Olympic Games in Tokyo coming to a close this weekend, we want to send our thanks and congratulations to all at...
08/06/2021

With the Olympic Games in Tokyo coming to a close this weekend, we want to send our thanks and congratulations to all athletes who participated in these games under very unusual circumstances.

One of them is Alexander Victor Schauffele, professionally known as Xander Schauffele, a young German-American who recently won the Gold medal in golf. He is the first American to do so since 1900. Xander also could have played for Germany, as his dad and coach Stefan is a German-French immigrant, and passed his citizenship to his son. Xander's mother is from Taiwan, and he holds that country's citizenship as well.

Xander's golf abilities are well known, but what's not as well-known is that he comes from a very athletic family. Two of his great-grandfathers played football in Germany and Austria respectively. Johann Hoffmann was a player for Austria's national football team, where he won several titles, and Richard Schauffele first played football for the VfB Stuttgart, and then switched to javelin and discus throwing.

German-American achievements are not just a thing of the past, but of the present and the future.

GAHM IS OPEN FOR VISITORSAfter a lengthy renovation, which like all renovation projects seemed to take much longer than ...
08/03/2021

GAHM IS OPEN FOR VISITORS

After a lengthy renovation, which like all renovation projects seemed to take much longer than expected, we are now open to receive visitors once more. The decade-old carpet is gone, and has been replaced with a beautiful and sustainable bamboo floor. Thank you to all our donors who contributed to this very important campaign. Please stop by Tuesday through Friday (11 am to 4 pm) to explore the fascinating history of German-speaking immigrants to the US. Group visits are available upon request. Please contact info(at)gahmusa.org to schedule a visit.

During the past two weeks, multiple regions of Western and Southern Germany have been severely affected by floods, which...
07/29/2021

During the past two weeks, multiple regions of Western and Southern Germany have been severely affected by floods, which resulted in almost 200 deaths, and the complete destruction of homes and infrastructure. Many more people are still missing while over 750 people are injured. On July 26, another deluge affected Southern Bavaria, further straining national, regional, and local resources.

Some of you have approached us about making donations, and we are happy to point you to several organizations that are currently accepting money for the flood victims who lost everything and whose lives were upended. This is a courtesy listing of legitimate charitable groups that promise quick and effective help:

Aktion Deutschland Hilft: https://www.aktion-deutschland-hilft.de/en/donate/donate/
HELP e.V. – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe (Focus is on Bonn/Rhein-Sieg, Ahrtal und Rhein-Erft-Kreis): https://www.help-ev.de/
Technisches Hilfswerk (If you want to donate to the helpers, you can do so through the THW’s account. You need to be able to make international transfers with an IBAN, as there is no online function.)
THW-Stiftung IBAN: DE23 3705 0198 1902 639093
Stichwort: Hilfe für Helfer
A more comprehensive list (in German only) of charitable networks is available here: https://www.swr.de/home/spenden-hotlines-hochwasser-rheinland-pfalz-102.html#Spendenkonten

Thank you for your support!

In the fourth part of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we are featuring a German-American ...
07/29/2021

In the fourth part of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we are featuring a German-American Civil War officer Brigadier General Franz Sigel (1824-1902) who fought for the Union Army. Sigel, who was originally from the Grand Duchy of Baden, may well be one of the most commemorated German-born soldiers of this conflict. He is not only remembered through different statues in New York and Missouri, a park in the Bronx named in his honor, but he is also immortalized in a tavern song entitled "I'm Going to Fight mit Sigel" that shows that "Denglish", the practice of mixing German and English, precedes the 21st century. As a well-known veteran of the 1848 German Revolutions and a highly-respected member of the German-American community, he played a vital role in rousing his countrymen to join the Union cause. Visit https://gahmusa.org/franz-sigel/ to read more about this fascinating officer who followed his conscience and believed in the American ideal.

In the fourth part of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we are featuring a German-American Civil War officer Brigadier General Franz Sigel (1824-1902) who fought for the Union Army. Sigel, who was originally from the Grand Duchy of Baden, may well be one of the most commemorated German-born soldiers of this conflict. He is not only remembered through different statues in New York and Missouri, a park in the Bronx named in his honor, but he is also immortalized in a tavern song entitled "I'm Going to Fight mit Sigel" that shows that "Denglish", the practice of mixing German and English, precedes the 21st century. As a well-known veteran of the 1848 German Revolutions and a highly-respected member of the German-American community, he played a vital role in rousing his countrymen to join the Union cause. Visit https://gahmusa.org/franz-sigel/ to read more about this fascinating officer who followed his conscience and believed in the American ideal.

When the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress during a meeting in Philadelphia, Pe...
07/03/2021

When the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress during a meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776, it did not take long for this important document to be picked up by several newspapers and printers. Granted, news did not spread as rapidly as today, where we can often observe events unfolding live online, but printers were always on the lookout for a breaking story, and Heinrich Miller, a newspaper veteran who published the German-language Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote, was the first to make news and history. On July 5, he reported the existence of the Declaration of Independence. Just four days after the initial announcement, he was able to publish a German translation. Today, 245 years later, as we go into the Fourth of July weekend, we wish you a happy and relaxing time with family and friends. For many of us, this will mean attending concerts and fireworks, garden parties and barbecues -- something that we have not been able to do since 2019. Have a fantastic time and stay safe wherever you are!

While we focus on family and friends, we also want to remember the people who fought for our freedom. Germans and German...
07/02/2021

While we focus on family and friends, we also want to remember the people who fought for our freedom. Germans and German-Americans were involved on both sides of the American Revolution, and while the Hessian soldiers who fought for the British Crown are almost as well-known as Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, whose military genius saved the beleaguered Continental Army, we want to introduce you to another Revolutionary War hero from Prussia: Frederick Baron de Weissenfels. He first served under King Frederick the Great, then emigrated to the North American colonies where he accepted a British commission and became a British subject, but ultimately fought under General George Washington and for a cause he supported. Click here to read more: https://gahmusa.org/frederick-von-weissenfels/

While we focus on family and friends, we also want to remember the people who fought for our freedom. Germans and German-Americans were involved on both sides of the American Revolution, and while the Hessian soldiers who fought for the British Crown are almost as well-known as Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, whose military genius saved the beleaguered Continental Army, we want to introduce you to another Revolutionary War hero from Prussia: Frederick Baron de Weissenfels. He first served under King Frederick the Great, then emigrated to the North American colonies where he accepted a British commission and became a British subject, but ultimately fought under General George Washington and for a cause he supported. Click here to read more: https://gahmusa.org/frederick-von-weissenfels/

In this second installment of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we highlight the life and s...
06/23/2021

In this second installment of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we highlight the life and service of Hank Welzel (1926-2019). A brave German-American medic, he served for nearly a year in Korea to take control over his life after being a young, compulsory participant in World War II for a side he did not agree with. Click on the link below to read more about the amazing life of the man who fought in two wars, and on two different fronts. https://gahmusa.org/henry-hank-welzel/

In this second installment of our Biographies and Voices of German-American Soldiers series, we highlight the life and service of Hank Welzel (1926-2019). A brave German-American medic, he served for nearly a year in Korea to take control over his life after being a young, compulsory participant in World War II for a side he did not agree with. Click on the link below to read more about the amazing life of the man who fought in two wars, and on two different fronts. https://gahmusa.org/henry-hank-welzel/

Address

719 6th St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20001

The Museum is located across the street from the Verizon Center and can easily be accessed with Washington’s public transportation system. Red, Green, and Yellow line: Gallery Place-Chinatown

General information

Entry to the museum ranges from $5/person to $10/person, depending on the current exhibit. Please call before visiting to find out current rates. For more information, visit https://gahmusa.org/museum/ and click on "Exhibits." Donations are encouraged and always very much appreciated. To inquire about the cost of museum rentals please contact [email protected]

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11am - 4:30pm
Wednesday 11am - 4:30pm
Thursday 11am - 4:30pm
Friday 11am - 4:30pm

Telephone

(202) 467-5000

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Our History and Mission

The German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™ opened in March 2010 in a building once known as Hockemeyer Hall. Renovations were completed by the GAHF after acquiring the building in 2008. Located on 6th Street NW in the heart of the old European-American section of Washington, the Museum sits in what is now a thriving commercial neighborhood.

The Heritage Museum’s mission is to collect, record, preserve and exhibit the rich cultural legacy of Americans of German-speaking ancestry and make their contributions to American history available to audiences of all ages.


Comments

German reunification 30 years: We remember Germans displaced from their homes in East Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, the Sudetenland, Germans who helped them get a new start in West Germany, Germans who did the hard work of reconciliation, the bearing of the cross of the N**i legacy. We remember those who nursed the seeds of democracy and charted a new course for the barely alive German ship of state into the safer waters of international cooperation, especially this man:
Celebrating the 4th (an image from my collection)
My Father Dr Guenter B Finke arrived in the United States of America aboard the USS America in the fall of 1960 as a German Citizen and he later was honored to be naturalized a US Citizen as required for his technical work in the area of advanced electromagnetic sensors. My father taught me to love the ideals and principles of the United States of America and I am grateful to the love and support of Philadelphia German American Community in grieving his passing and embracing his legacy in engineering excellence and service. I now know what he meant when we discussed the concept of ZUSAMMENHALTEN.
Proud to have joined as a member
do you have any ww11 u-boat german binoculars on show ???????????????
Buy your German imported coffee and foodstuffs now, because new tariffs will soon boost prices.
An interesting German-American in the news.
An interesting vignette from the North Sea border area.
Last week we all witnessed the destruction a fire caused at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I was born and raised in Cologne, Germany, and the below clip gives a general introduction to the magic that is Construction of a Cathedral, and it concludes with the details of the 'Fertigstellung' - Completion of the Cathedral in the Holy City of Cologne. The caveat: The clip is in German, and, thus, the perfect opportunity for the members of the group to brush up on their German Skills...You are welcome. LOL!
Hard to watch, Trump claiming his father was born in Germany (he was actually born in NYC).