Located in Washington, DC, we are a museum dedicated to preserving the heritage of German-Americans
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
OUR HISTORY AND BACKGROUND Keeping German-American Heritage Alive
In March 2010, the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA (GAHF) opened the German-American Heritage Museum (GAHM) as the first national inspiration for German-American heritage and culture.
The GAHM tells the story of all Americans of German-speaking ancestry and how they helped shape our great nation today. The Museum collects, records, preserves, and exhibits this rich cultural legacy. It is a place for continuing discussion, study, and development of ideas about German, Swiss, Austrian, and Americans, their heritage, their values, and their future.
In an effort to make the German-American history more readily available to a broader audience and easier to comprehend by all ages, the Museum fosters mutual understanding and increases public knowledge about the rich heritage of all Americans of German descent. Centrally located in Hockemeyer Hall in Washington, DC, the German-American Heritage Museum ™ is not only in close proximity to the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery and the Newseum, but also serves as a historical setting for German-American immigration itself. John Hockemeyer, a German immigrant who fought in the Civil War and afterward became a successful merchant, built the hall in 1888. The townhouse is part of the historic Penn Quarter, former home to over 4000 German immigrants in Washington DC including the world famous architect Adolph Cluss (1825-1905), Carl Schurz (1829-1906) first German born US Senator, and Emile Berliner (1851-1929) inventor of the phonograph.
HISTORY OF HOCKEMEYER HALL
719 Sixth Street NW was built by John Hockemeyer, who had come to Washington as a 15-year-old German emigrant in 1858. After serving in the Civil War, Hockemeyer had become wealthy in the grocery, coffee roasting, and meat businesses. This presumably helped him solidify his position as a leader of Washington’s prosperous German-American community. It was a fine residence, which proclaimed both the economic coming of age of the German community and Hockemeyer’s status within that community. But, most importantly, it became a vital social center for Washington’s German-American business community.
It was prime location, situated just a block off the fashionable Seventh Street business district and in close proximity to such German community institutions as the Washington Journal Office (across the street at 710 Sixth), Dietz’s Ratskeller (around the corner at 511 Seventh), and Adolph Cluss’s Masonic Temple at Ninth and F Streets.
Hockemeyer’s status in the German-American community appears to have risen even higher after he built his new home, which apparently included one of the earliest bowling alleys in the city...
Fascinated by the story of John Hockemeyer? Visit the museum to learn more!