“Neighbors to the North: German Influence in New Ulm, MN" at the German American Heritage Center -- through July 30.

Through Sunday, July 30

German American Heritage Center, 712 West Second Street, Davenport IA

Just like Davenport, New Ulm, Minnesota was a hub for German immigrants in the 19th and 20th century, and through July 30, the German American Heritage Center exhibition Neighbors to the North: German Influence in New Ulm, MN will highlight how New Ulm preserves their German heritage in their events, monuments, museums, and festivals.

In the exhibit, patrons of the Davenport venue will explore the German history of New Ulm and view objects from their history, including original paintings from Anton Gág, the father of artist and children's author Wanda Gág. Anton Gág and his family emigrated to the United States in 1873 when the boy was 14, and they first settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. Seven years later, Anton moved to New Ulm, an immigrant community along the Cottonwood River that boasted many residents who were of German and Bohemian ancestry, and he was befriended by Schell's Brewery founder August Schell, who commissioned Gág to paint murals in a guest house. Schell also arranged for Gág to attend art school in Chicago and study for a time in Milwaukee, and after the young man's return to New Ulm, the burgeoning artist earned most of his income through his photography studio, especially portraits and the popular cartes-de-visite.

Gág went on to paint an estimated 60 works, with his 1904 painting Battle of New Ulm depicting part of the Dakota War and currently on display in the Minnesota State Capitol. The artist eventually died at age 48 in New Ulm and is buried in the New Ulm City Cemetery. His daughter Wanda became a celebrated author and artist in her own right, continuing to live in the family house after her parents died. The house where the family lived, at 226 North Washington Street, is now known as the Wanda Gág House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house has been preserved and is operated as a museum to tell the story of this family, showing examples of their art and way of life during their residence, while the exterior of the house has been restored to the original colors of the period when the Gág family lived there.

Neighbors to the North: German Influence in New Ulm, MN will be on display at the German American Heritage Center through July 30, with regular venue hours Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Exhibit entrance is free with $3-5 museum admission, and more information is available by calling (563)322-8844 and visiting GAHC.org.

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