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April – June 2011
The Star and the Laurel – the Birth of the Automobile

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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The Star and the Laurel – the Birth of the Automobile

In January 1886, the German Carl Benz patented the first “horseless carriage”. To commemorate the 125th birthday of the automobile and to honor the other pioneers of the early automotive industry, including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Henry Ford, the German-American Heritage Museum of the USA proudly created a special exhibition titled: “The Star and the Laurel “– The Birth of the Automobile

This exhibit told the fascinating story of the car’s invention, as well as the emerging environmental and energy challenges facing today’s auto industries, which are still such an important part of our industrial societies..

Amongst the many highlights of the exhibit are the stories of Bertha Benz, the wife of Carl Benz and a heroine of early automobilism, who was also the first person to drive the “horseless carriage” over a long distance. Additionally, the exhibit explored the racing stories of William Vanderbilt and Rudolf Caracciola, the legend of the famous Silver Arrows, and new car concepts like the Smart-E and fuel cell cars. 

Bertha Benz on a horseless carriage