"The vision of the German American Heritage Center began with a humble start. A small group of passionate volunteers united to celebrate German-American heritage. Since then we have grown into a historic treasure that also reaches across cultural boundaries, finding commonalities amongst us all," said Executive Director, Angela Hunt.
View several photos that show the amazing transformation of the building over the past 14 years in our photo gallery.
Since 2007, GAHC underwent a complete interior renovation and has increased exhibit space by six times the original layout. A ribbon cutting ceremony will kick off the grand opening weekend that takes place on Saturday, October 3, 2009 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 4, 2009 from noon - 4 p.m. Admission is free to GAHC during the grand opening weekend. The museum will debut the improvements and the new interactive, audio-visual permanent exhibit, "The German Immigrant Experience." The exhibit takes visitors on an exploration of what it was like to be an immigrant to this area in the 1800s.
A brief history: From immigrant hotel to heritage museum
Built around the late 1860s, the GAHC location appears to have had its earliest history in the hostelry enterprise. Around 1872, the thirty-room hotel was a popular spot for many immigrants, visitors, and farmers who came to Davenport. Its German character as a "Gast Haus" lasted well into the early years of the twentieth century. Today the GAHC serves as a museum, genealogy research center, and educational/cultural resource.
What to expect at the newly expanded museum
New interactive, audio-visual permanent exhibit, "The German Immigrant Experience"
The new exhibit space at the museum is 3,550 square feet and includes two additional traveling exhibit spaces. The permanent exhibit is highly interactive and includes a theater, audio-visual stations, artifacts and two restored hotel rooms. The creation of this exhibit area marks a major milestone at GAHC; achieving its goal of providing a premier educational, historical and recreational experience. The exhibit was designed by Morgan-Bailey Consulting out of Des Moines, Iowa.
Additional new traveling and special exhibit spaces
GAHC now has two special/traveling exhibit spaces. These spaces will change throughout the year showcasing different exhibits. Current special exhibits include "Brewery Ephemera," that explores the history of local breweries established by German immigrants; and "A to Zither," a journey into the world of the sounds and tradition of the German zither instrument.
Expanded education and recreational programs and events
With the newly expanded exhibits at GAHC, we will create seven new education programs for schools, new field trips, outreach programs and education tours. The permanent exhibit is specifically designed so that all curriculum areas from geography and literature to science can be explored. Special new group tours, community programs, member-only events and trips will also be offered.
New facility rental space
GAHC has a new rental space on fourth floor that boasts panoramic views of the Mississippi River and the City of Davenport. GAHC will use the space for programs and will also make it available for private and nonprofit groups to rent. Discount rates are available for GAHC members and nonprofit groups. The space can hold up to 100 persons, includes a kitchenette, restrooms, tables/chairs, and audio-visual equipment.
Below are details on the grand opening event:
GRAND OPENING WEEKEND:"The German Immigrant Experience"
Open to the public, Free admission during the grand opening weekend
Saturday, October 3 - 4, 2009; 10 am - 4 pm
Sunday, October 4, 2009; 12 - 4 pm
During grand opening festivities, the Center will unveil the new interactive permanent exhibit. Enjoy special performances by the German Dancers, zither music demonstrations, children's activities, and more. Visit www.gahc.org or call 563-322-8844 for more information. The German American Heritage Center is located at 712 W 2nd Street, Davenport.
After the grand opening weekend, GAHC will offer new hours. Below the new hours, admission and membership rates are listed:
$5 ADULTS; $4 SENIOR CITIZENS (60+); $3 CHILDREN (AGES 3 - 17); FREE (UNDER 3)
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
COUPLE $45 (TWO ADULTS IN SAME HOUSEHOLD)
HOUSEHOLD $55 (UP TO TWO ADULTS & CHILDREN IN SAME HOUSEHOLD)
GRANDPARENTS $55 (UP TO TWO GRANDPARENTS & THEIR GRANDCHILDREN)
LIFE MEMBER INDIVIDUAL $1,000 (OR $1,500 FOR TWO ADULTS IN SAME HOUSEHOLD)
For more information please visit www.gahc.org for photos, videos, programs, and events.