Located in historic Hockemeyer Hall, the German-American Heritage Museum of the USA has recently opened their doors to the public. As a “Danke schön” to the many benefactors that made this museum possible, a gala event was recently held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. Dr. William Kolb, author of the following article, provided the evening's entertainment with a collection of music played on his Wünsche zither.

German American Heritage Museum, Washington, DC

After more than 400 years of German immigration to the United States, the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA opened the first national German-American Heritage Museum as the newest addition to the museum circuit in Washington, DC. With a grand opening on March 21, 2010, the Heritage Museum will be open to the public Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11AM to 6PM, Wednesday 2PM to 7PM and Saturday and Sunday 12PM to 5PM.

Centrally located in historic Hockemeyer Hall at 719 Sixth Street, NW in Washington, DC, the home of the German-American Heritage Museum is itself a testament to the achievements of German immigrants in the United States. Built in 1888 by John Hockemeyer, a German immigrant who became a successful merchant, the Victorian townhouse is part of the Penn Quarter, historically a vibrant district of Washington, DC, originally settled by German immigrants. It presents permanent exhibits featuring German immigration and migration across the Unites States and famous German-Americans, as well as smaller temporary exhibitions on German Clubs and immigrant families in the U.S. and the influence of German music in the U.S.

The German-American Heritage Museum has partnered with the following museums and institutions around the globe to provide the best information, resources and services to its visitors: The Ellis Island Foundation (www.ellisisland.org), the German National Tourist Office, New York (www.germany-tourism.de), the “Ballinstadt” Museum, Hamburg (www.ballinstadt.de), the German Emigration Center, Bremerhaven (www.dah-bremerhaven.de), Deutsche Welle (www.dw-world.de), the German Information Center, Washington (www.germany.info), and the American Association of Teachers of German (www.aatg.org).

As a “Danke schön” to the many German-Americans and German-American societies whose generous donations of money, furnishings and time made the Museum possible, the GAHF hosted a gala evening on Friday, March 20, 2010, at the very exclusive and prestigious Cosmos Club on Massachusetts Avenue. After an extraordinary selection of Vorspeisen, the guests rose to sing the National Anthems. Following international protocol, the anthems of the “guest” countries, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, were played followed by the Star-Spangled Banner. All the Anthems and music was provided by Dr. William Kolb of New Jersey who played his Wünsche Zither throughout the evening, adding a fitting touch to the event.

Dr. William Kolb with zither, entertaining at the Cosmos Club

For more information, visit the web site of the German-American Heritage Foundation. Have you recently participated in a zither related event? Would you like to share your experience? If so, email dave@zither.us, or use the provided contact form.