1011 CR 212
Giddings, TX 78942
The Museum and Library
(Currently closed on Saturdays due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
|Tuesday - Saturday||1 PM - 5 PM|
|Sunday - Monday||closed|
Closed on Sunday, Mondays and holidays
Children 12 and under : Free
Online Gift Shop
Chelsea Beck, Executive Director
Marian Wiederhold, Program Director
The Texas Wendish Heritage Museum preserves the history of the Texas Wends, Slavic immigrants from Lusatia, an area in eastern Germany. Today the Wends of Lusatia are called Sorbs.
The Museum is located in historic Serbin, near the St. Paul Lutheran Church, school and cemetery. The present Church building, built in 1871, is one of the painted churches of South Central Texas.
The Museum is a complex of buildings which are connected by porches. In the center is a new facility with a display interpreting the history of the Wends. It also houses the Offices, Gift Shop, Library, and Archives. To the right and left are the old St. Paul school buildings. Exhibits include relics from the old country and Texas. Folk dress of Lusatia, the traditional Texas wedding dresses, and the beautiful Wendish Easter eggs are a few of the colorful exhibits.
Outdoor exhibits include two log buildings and farming equipment.The 1856 log room, built by the Kurio family, originally part of a dog trot home, is furnished as a bed room. A section of the earlier 1855 room is also preserved on the Museum grounds. The Mertink family log room is used to exhibit carpenter’s and farming tools
The Lillie Moerbe Caldwell Memorial Library specializes in the history and genealogy of the Wendish people. It welcomes donations of family histories and genealogies.The Archives includes rare books in Wendish and German, manuscripts, personal papers, and a photographic collection.
The mission of the TWHS is to collect, preserve, and promote the culture and heritage of the Texas Wends.
Wendish families began arriving in Texas in 1849, followed by a group of 35 in 1853. In 1854, a congregation of over 500 Wends immigrated on a chartered sailing ship, the Ben Nevis. This group founded a new homeland on 4,254 acres in Bastrop County (now Lee County) and named their new town Serbin. Other Wendish towns and congregations were soon organized. Many more Wends immigrated during the second half of the 19th Century.
The archives' primary collection focus is Wendish heritage in Texas from 1555 to 1990. Collection includes: 16.69 cubic feet manuscript collections, 15.45 cubic feet institutional records, 800 books, pamphlets, 3,000 photographs, maps, one oral history, 13.47 cubic feet newspapers.
Ninety-nine percent of the printed matter, manuscripts, and certificates of the historical collection are in Wendish and German. Most of these are in the old fraktur printing and the old German script.
Five hundred and fifty of the books are rare, and focus on religious, historical, and educational subjects. Those most revered are the Kilian translations into Wendish and the original writings of Rev. Johann Kilian, the religious leader of the 1854 immigration. Many early editions of the writings of Martin Luther are included. There are also about 1,000 images, collections of personal papers, the Anne Blasig research collection as well as baptismal, confirmation, and marriage certificates. The portraits of wedding couples show the progression from the traditional black bridal dress of the 19th century to the grey and eventually the white of the 20th century.
We offer tours for the general public including a church tour, museum tour and a meal for $17.50. We also offer school (and home school) programs and field trips. We are adding to our library of "field trip in a box" offerings for local schools. Please inquire about these offerings.
The Museum is governed by the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Board of Directors.
Genealogy: Interactive web application, with future additions planned. Be sure to not only visit, but participate. You may view some of the data, but the best functionality is reserved for TWHS members. So sign-up! It may take several days to provide fully registered accounts. Please be patient – it is worth the wait!
Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members
Appointment required: No
The Texas Wendish Heritage Society publishes 4 newsletters per year, which are mailed to members.
Most of the museum is easy to navigate in a wheel chair. Visiting the log cabins and the cemetery will be more challenging as they are not in paved areas.
Online Gift Shop
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