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About us

The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®

German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™

The German-American Heritage Museum of the USA™ opened in March, 2010 in a building once known as Hockemeyer Hall. Renovations were completed by the GAHF after acquiring the building in 2008. Located on 6th Street NW in the heart of the old European-American section of Washington, the Museum sits in what is now a thriving commercial neighborhood.

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Our history and background

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.

GAHF is an educational organization and serves as the national umbrella organization in which German Americans work together on vital issues of common concern and promote their heritage. Our mission is to preserve and inform about the history of  Americans of German-speaking ancestry and their role in building the United States. We want to excite the next generations to rediscover their roots, while strengthening political, cultural, and economic transatlantic relations. GAHF was founded in 1977 and chartered in 1978 as the United German-American Committee of the USA, Inc. as an independent, tax-exempt educational not-for-profit organization.

Our museum tells the story of all Americans of German-speaking ancestry and how they helped shape our great nation today. We collect, record, preserve, and exhibit this rich cultural legacy. We are a place for continuing discussion, study, and development of ideas about Americans of German, Austrian and Swiss descent, their shared heritage, their values, and their future.

Keeping German-American Heritage alive

Our goal is make the German-American history more readily available to a broader audience and suitable for all ages, to foster mutual understanding and increase 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 Adolf Cluss (1825-1905), Carl Schurz (1829-1906) first German-born US Senator, and Emile Berliner (1851-1929) the inventor of the phonograph and the gramophone record.