Last updated: 7/2/2020
Giddings, Texas
Address
1011 CR 212
Giddings, TX 78942
phone: 979-366-2441
e-mail: museum@texaswendish.org
web: www.texaswendish.org
Hours
The Museum and Library
(Currently closed on Saturdays due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
Tuesday - Saturday1 PM - 5 PM
Sunday - Mondayclosed
Closed on Sunday, Mondays and holidays
Admissions
Adults: $5
Members: free
Children 12 and under : Free
Services
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Group Tours
Staff
Chelsea Beck, Executive Director
phone: 979-366-2441
Marian Wiederhold, Program Director
phone: 979-366-2441
Description

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.

Mission

The mission of the TWHS is to collect, preserve, and promote the culture and heritage of the Texas Wends.

History

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.

Research Collections

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.

Educational Programs

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.

Governance

The Museum is governed by the Texas Wendish Heritage Society Board of Directors.

Library

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

Publications

The Texas Wendish Heritage Society publishes 4 newsletters per year, which are mailed to members.

ADA

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.

Wheelchair Accessible

Parking

Restrooms

Services

Gift Shop

Online Gift Shop

Group Tours

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MUSEUM CONFERENCES
Saturday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 8, 2022 — Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference 2022
Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, March 6 - Thursday, March 10, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
2022 Public Land Alliance Convention and Trade Show
St. Louis, Missouri
Wednesday, March 16 - Friday, March 18, 2022 — Kingsport, Tennessee
Tennessee Association of Museums 2022 Annual Conference
Kingsport, Tennessee
Tuesday, March 22 - Friday, March 25, 2022 — Waco, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2022 - Growing Together: Tackling The Challenges Of Today & Tomorrow
Waco, Texas
Thursday, April 7 - Saturday, April 9, 2022 — Point Pleasant, West Virginia
West Virginia Association of Museums 2022 Conference
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Sunday, April 24 - Tuesday, April 26, 2022 — Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
PA Museums’ 2022 Conference
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Sunday, May 15 - Saturday, May 28, 2022 — Statesboro, Georgia
Center of Excellence Tick Workshop 2022
Statesboro, Georgia
Monday, May 16 - Wednesday, May 18, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
InterActivity 2022: Play The Long Game -Association of Children's Museums
St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 — Slinger, Wisconsin
2022 Fire Museum Seminar
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Sunday, June 19 - Wednesday, June 22, 2022 — Golden, Colorado
2022 Country School Association of America Conference
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Thursday, June 23 - Tuesday, June 28, 2022 — Tacoma, Washington
ALHFAM 2022 CONFERENCE & ANNUAL MEETING
Tacoma, Washington
Monday, August 1 - Friday, August 5, 2022 — Owings Mills, Maryland
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2022 ANNUAL SUMMIT
Owings Mills, Maryland
Wednesday, September 14 - Saturday, September 17, 2022 — Buffalo, New York
American Association for State and Local History 2022 On-site and Virual Conferences
Buffalo, New York