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 BenNevis. 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.
Our members are important to our museum. Memberships in excess of the minimum are added to our endowment fund, and the interest earned from the endowment helps to fund museum operations. Memberships are per calendar year with the exception of Life Member. Categories are as follows:
Couples level - $25.00
Regular Member - $15.00
Museum Patron - $30.00
Museum Sponsor - $50.00
Museum Century - $100.00
Museum Silver - $250.00
Museum Life - $1,000.00 (payable over 2 years if desired)
Interior of the St. Paul Lutheran Church
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, stroll through the St. Paul cemetery, and visit the historic St. Paul Lutheran Church. We will happily schedule a group tour of the museum and church.
**Please note** Our Kilian Building will undergo renovations during 2014 so we will not be able to provide meals to tour groups during this time. We will, however, still schedule museum and church tours, and Giddings offers several restaurant options for tour groups that wish to have a meal during their time in our area.
Simply call the museum at 979-366-2441 for more information or for scheduling.