Whether you visit Hermann, Missouri, when fall foliage fills the Missouri River Valley town with color, or in the spring, when the grape vines grow green across the hillsides, you’ll find the cultural heritage as rich as its natural one. Established more than a 175 years ago, the town has preserved its main street (Thinking big, the original planners made it 10 feet wider than Philadelphia’s!) and historic buildings. In fact, it’s a town where it’s easy to imagine a less hectic time, so relaxing and enjoying the visit is the top priority.
German School Building
The first settlers who viewed what became the German settlement of Hermann, Missouri, may have been disappointed on their arrival — but no doubt soon grew to love the Missouri River Valley that reminded them of home. In less than a decade they planted the hills to grape vines, and by the turn of the 20th century, made Hermann one of the most popular spots between St. Louis and Kansas City.
Much of that history is preserved now in the building of the original 1871 German School. In fact, Historic Hermann, the organization incorporated in 1953 to do the preservation, has 60+ years of experience preserving and collecting the past.
Historic Hermann Museum Collection
The museum collection is home to many one-of-a kind pieces unique to both the area and its German culture. Since I’m a lover of fine craftsmanship, I was particularly drawn to the handmade carousel on display in the Kinder Room.
The Kinder Room also held toys of many types. While I wasn’t a “doll” kind of girl as a child, I find them fascinating now as an adult studying history. The intricate detail on the doll carriages, as well as the dolls, provides insights into childhood in the Victorian era and beyond. While it may have been a period with all kinds of rules for children, it was easy to see their imaginations were given free rein with their toys!
While dolls weren’t my thing, written words always were, even when I was very young. So, touring the River History Room could have taken me a day or more to go through, as you never know what stories you’ll find buried in old documents. And I would have loved to spend some time with the generations of photos that have been archived.
Since I’d already explored some of Hermann’s extraordinary wineries before visiting the museum, I wasn’t surprised to find various artifacts from its early period as a leader in wine production in the nation. Today, both wineries with decades of history, alongside new start-ups, are starting to make their mark on the wine industry again. Check out my day exploring here.
As I wandered through the remaining “rooms” of the museum, I couldn’t help but feel like I was visiting the home of dear elderly relative, taking a peek inside the lives of a community that made me feel part of it.
Visit the Historic Hermann Museum
The Historic Hermann Museum is open with regularly scheduled hours from March through December, and by appointment at other times. For hours and admissions, see: http://www.historichermann.com/map.html
In Hermann: Corner of East Fourth and Schiller in Hermann, Missouri
On the Web: http://www.historichermann.com/
I visited Hermann on a trip hosted by the State of Missouri for a week of traveling along the Katy Trail in Missouri–-it was amazing! Beenders-Walker group organized the trip and took care of my needs along the way.
More Places to Visit in Missouri
About the Photo
The photo in the header above is of an exhibit in the Historic Hermann Museum, in Hermann, Missouri, USA.