Museum

Texas Wendish Heritage Museum building.

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.

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.

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.

The Museum and Library are open Tuesday thru Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and are closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission to the Museum for non-members is $2.00 for adults; admission for children 14 and under is free.

10 Responses

  1. Tom Hart says:

    we want to visit – this is a definite stop in next few months.

  2. Rick Wende says:

    Would like to come visit and see if I could find any family history there.

    • Director says:

      You are welcome to visit us anytime Tuesday – Sunday from 1-5pm.
      Extensive genealogy resources are also available through the Wendish Research Exchange website.
      See link on our “Research” tab.
      Thank you!

  3. Monica says:

    When is your next festival? I enjoyed seeing the history on Texas Country Reporter.

  4. I have guests coming in from San Antonio and am new to the area of Giddings and found out about your lovely Museum!
    Will definitely put this on the list for my guests this weekend! The History of the Wendish and their immigration to Texas is fascinating. Can’t wait to see it!

  5. Laudi says:

    My family did not come with this group, yet I believe I could better learn my culture here, then going to Dresden, where we were a minority among the Germans.

  6. Barbara Bohlen says:

    Recently we found a photograph of a man and women which we believe is dated in the 1850’s. We had the writing on the back translated and it said this is your Wendish grandparents. It also said great great grandparents of Marion Mieth. Marion was my mother and her father Walter Mieth immigrated to Buffalo, NY from Dresden Germany in the 1930’s. Walter’s family owned a Dresden china factory until it was destroyed in WWII. We are wondering if indeed we have Wendish heritage. Do you know how we may go about researching this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Marie says:

    This is a definite must for me to visit! I’m a descendant of germans that settled in Austin Texas around 1850. I believe they may have been sorbs as they were from the south lusatia region via what they listed on immigration and census . Pieces of the puzzle fit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *