In an invitation from Petra Schuermann, Executive Director of the German American Heritage Museum in Washington, DC “Last Saturday, on September 6, we opened the biggest and most complex exhibit that has ever been on display at the GAHM: UTOPIA – Revisiting a German State in
America. Last Tuesday, a 40-foot-truck carrying more than 3.6 tons of exhibit material stopped in front of our small museum. Brought to us by the Traveling Summer Republic, an organization of scholars, researchers, and artists headed by project manager Peter Roloff, this exhibit explores a widely unknown chapter of German-American history:
The plan of several hundred people from Giessen who were disillusioned about the lack of a democratic order in Germany and who set out to America in 1834 to create a German-speaking democracy on US soil and to eventually return to Germany to bring democratic order to their home country. As evident by the exhibit name, their goal was never realized, though these immigrants quickly integrated and shaped American society by supporting the Abolitionist movement and becoming involved in local and national politics.
The exhibit followed the path of the emigrants from Giessen via Bremen and Bremerhaven to Baltimore where the project team, today’s “emigrants”, where greeted with a welcome ceremony at the Baltimore Immigration Memorial Garden at Locust Point and a reception at the Immigrant House next to the United Church of Christ.
It took four days to set the exhibit up in our museum, where it will be on display until October 25. It will then embark to Missouri for its final destination at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. We hope to see you soon at our museum. We invite you to embark with us on a journey through utopian ideas from the past to the present.”
Exhibit Opening on Saturday, September 6, 2014
Muench family holds reunion in D.C. and visits Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America
Upcoming UTOPIA Events at GAHM
Special museum opening hours for Utopia:
September 7 – 13: 11 AM to 7 PM (daily)
Utopia project manager Peter Roloff is available for special tours and interviews upon request. Please contact the museum to schedule interviews at 202.467.5000.
September 9, 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Deutsch am Mittag hosted by the Goethe-Institut at the GAHM
Topic: Utopia! – Revisiting a German State in America. Discussion (in German) with Peter Roloff (Feel free to bring your own lunch.) Practice your German while exploring this new exhibit at the GAHM.
September 12, 2014 6 PM
Guest lecture with Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Armin Burkhardt, Institut fuer Germanistik at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Professor Burkhardt will speak about the legendary press conference of Guenter Schabowski on November 9, 1989 and the linguistic misunderstandings that eventually let to the fall of the Berlin Wall that day. Please RSVP to this event email@example.com
September 13 from 11 AM to 1 PM:
Fruehschoppen with guest speaker Peter Roloff, artistic director and exhibit project manager of “Utopia”, discussing utopias then and today.
After September 13, the regular opening hours of the GAHM are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 6 PM, Saturday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Screening of Home from Home – Chronicle of a Vision (Die andere Heimat – Chronik einer Sehnsucht). Film by Edgar Reitz (in English)
Wednesday, September 11, 2014, 6 pm
Introduced by Peter Roloff, project manager, exhibition “Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America.” – In the mid-19th century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans emigrated to faraway South America in a desperate bid to escape the famine, poverty and despotism that ruled at home. Their motto was “Any fate is better than death.” This drama and love story is set against the true backdrop of this forgotten tragedy. It centers around two brothers who realize that only their dreams can save them.
Location: Goethe-Institut Washington, Goethe Forum. Admission: $7/$4.
Please RSVP at (202) 289-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Goethe Society Presents German Orientalism
Wednesday, September 17th, 6:45 PM
Assistant Professor Julie Koser, Ph.D. will give a lecture on the role Orientalism played in the literary achievements of author Benedikte Naubert and subsequent German writers. The lecture will take place at the Goethe-Institut in DC. Please RSVP in advance at email@example.com, or visit http://www.americangoethesociety.org/ for more information.
World War I Film Series at the Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC
Tuesday, August 19th – Monday, October 6th
The Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC is hosting a film series that started August 19th, which centers on the reaction of soldiers and artists to World War I – a war that traumatized Europe. The film series accompanies the exhibit “Postcards from the Trenches: Germans and Americans Visualize the Great War”, on display at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery. Please click here for more details.
Postcards from the Trenches at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in Washington, DC
Tuesday, August 19 – Saturday, September 27th
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, which is being commemorated in many ways in the United States and throughout the world. One example is the newly opened exhibit “Postcards from the Trenches” at the Pepco Edison Place. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 4:00 pm and entrance to the exhibit is free of charge. Please
click here for more details.
Next at GAHM
A Piece of History is on its Way from Berlin to its New Home in Washington, DC. The GAHM is eagerly awaiting the arrival of its newest museum addition.Soon, visitors to the GAHM will be able to get a personal look at a relic of the not-so-distant past: Thanks to the generous gift of the Senatskanzlei of Berlin, a panel of the Berlin Wall will soon be added to the GAHM’s collection.
Although it has been nearly 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down, kickstarting the reunification of East and West Germany, the Berlin Wall’s significance still resonates with Germans in their native country and German immigrants around the world. Stay tuned for travel updates as this massive panel makes its way across the ocean to the United States courtesy of the German-based shipping company Kuehne + Nagel.