Museum


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.

Additional membership categories are very important to the organization.
Membership contributions above the minimum required are added to the endowment, the income from which helps fund the operations of the museum. The higher membership categories are recognized in our newsletter and in the annual membership directory.

Couples level - $25.00
Per-person categories:
Patron level - $30.00
Sponsor level - $50.00
Century level - $100.00
Silver level - $250.00
Life membership - $1,000.00

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 then-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 complex consists of three main buildings connected by porches.  In the center of the complex is the newest facility, The Peter Building, which houses an interpretive display of the history of the Wends as well as the Museum office, gift shop, library, and archives. The other two buildings, to the right and left of the Peter Building, are the old St. Paul School buildings.  Exhibits include relics from the old country and Texas, folk dress of Lusatia, traditional Texas wedding dresses, and the beautiful Wendish Easter eggs. 

Outdoor exhibits include two log buildings and farming equipment.  The 1856 log room, built by the Kurio family and originally part of a dogtrot home, is furnished as a bedroom.  A section of the earlier 1855 room is also preserved on the Museum grounds.  The Mertink family log room is used to exhibit carpenter and farming tools. 

The Lillie Moerbe Caldwell Memorial Library, housed in the Peter Building, specializes in the history and genealogy of the Wendish people.  We welcome donations of family histories and genealogies.  The archives include rare books in Wendish and German, manuscripts, personal papers, and a photographic collection.

The Museum and Library are open Tuesday through Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 PM, 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. 


Tours:

Plan to spend several hours in Serbin to see the exhibits in the Peter Building and St. Paul Building, see the Mertink and Kurio log cabins, have lunch in the Kilian Building, stroll through the St. Paul cemetery, and visit the historic St. Paul Lutheran Church.  Group tours may be scheduled with or without a Wendish meal.  Enjoy a day of Wendish hospitality by arranging for a Wendish luncheon for your group. 

Arrangement may be made by calling the Museum (979-366-2441). 

The Wendish luncheon includes sausage, sauerkraut, homemade Wendish noodles, beets, dill pickles, homemade bread and butter, tea and coffee, and fruit dessert.  Luncheon prices are as follows:

Less than 20 people  $12.50 plus tax per person

20 to 25 people  $10.50 plus tax per person

26 to 50 people  $8.50 plus tax per person.

Meal prices do not include the $2.00 entry fee to the Museum.