In and Around the Museum

In late July, TWHS was awarded a grant from the Texas Historical Foundation, a 62-year old preservation organization. The grant will provide funds to support the development of a collection of visual media, which will be used in a planned interactive display that will be installed in the Peter Building in the coming months.

The cover photo of the January 2016 issue of our newsletter featured a German Christmas pyramid that Jack and Marian Wiederhold donated to our museum, which we kept on display during the first 3 months of this year. What was missing from the pyramid was a set of nativity figures to complete the display. Taking note of that wish, the Wiederhold’s recently presented to our museum a 20-piece set of wood figures that they purchased during their trip to Germany in early September. The set, complete with wise men, shepherds, the Holy Family, angels, camels and other animals, was hand-carved by Rainer Kaden, a woodworking artist whose shop is in Seiffen, Germany. We are eagerly looking forward to November’s arrival so we can put the pyramid and its new figures on display. Our heart-felt thanks to Jack and Marian for their generous gift!

In other news, one of the books discovered in the vault during the 2-plus years we’ve been in the process of digitally archiving our book collection is entitled “D. Martin Luther’s Kirchen Postille”, which was published in Leipzig in 1732. The book, Dr. Martin Luther’s Sermons on the “Propers” for the Church Year, was once a part of Rev. Johann Kilian’s personal library. A personal inscription Kilian wrote on a fly page in the book, dated 10 August 1869 and addressed to his son Gerhard, indicates he and his wife gave Gerhard the book as a gift while Gerhard was away at Addison, Illinois studying to become a Lutheran schoolteacher. This particular book, which may well have first been obtained by Kilian when he was a student in Leipzig, is undoubtedly the most-traveled book we have in our collection. If Kilian did indeed obtain the book while in Leipzig, then he carried it with him to Hochkirch, then to Kotitiz, then to Weigersdorf and Klitten, then to Texas. In 1869, the book was sent to Gerhard in Addison, Illinois. After graduation, Gerhard brought the book with him when he returned to Texas. Years later, following Gerhard’s death, his son Edwin Kilian, who lived in Austin, inherited the book. After Edwin’s death, Margaret Wolf Hart purchased the book at an estate sale and then donated it to our museum. So, this special book, which was one of the items loaned to the Bullock Texas State History Museum last October for their display showcasing the story of the Texas Wends, and which was returned to the museum in late April along with a custom-made acrylic book stand their curators built to properly hold the book, is now on display in the Peter Building. We were thrilled to receive the bookstand, and even more thrilled that Red Arldt agreed to build a covered display case so our visitors can view the book and learn about its history. The next time you visit us, be sure to check out the new display!