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How German Toymakers Captured the Hearts of Americans: 200 Years of German Toys

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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How German Toymakers Captured the Hearts of Americans: 200 Years of German Toys

For many centuries Germany has long been recognized as one of the world’s great toy producers, and the German-American Heritage Museum is honoring this cultural legacy with a special exhibit. From December 1, 2018 until March 28, 2019 the GAHM will be displaying German toys from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
This exhibit spans over 200 years of history of the German toy industry; it begins with the simplistic yet wildly popular wooden toys handcrafted in the regions of Thuringia and Erzgebirge, then explores how industrialism and two World Wars up-ended the German toy industry and influenced its exports to the United States. The exhibit also details different toy varieties and how and why those products were made, then ends with a focus on German toy producers who have continued to thrive despite heavy competition in the 21st century. Featuring artifacts such as porcelain dolls whose heads were produced in German factories, original Steiff teddy bears and stuffed animals, tin soldiers from renowned producers such as Heyde, a model train, and much more, there will be toys of every variety to delight all of our visitors. With cooperation and generosity from private collectors, private companies, and other museums, this exciting exhibit, curated entirely by GAHM employees, presents visitors with a backdrop of beautiful vintage toys while teaching them about the history of the German toy industry. As a unique aspect this exhibit will also have a play area open to children and adults alike, where visitors can experience German toys hands-on and play classic German board games such as Mensch ärgere dich nicht (similar to the American game Sorry) and newer ones such as Settlers of Catan.


  • Admission:
    families (max. 2 adults, max. 3 children)
  • Admission:
  • Admission:
    members, seniors, & students (with ID)
  • Admission:
    children aged 4 and up

Museum Hours:

  • Tuesdays – Fridays
    from 11 am – 5 pm
  • Select Saturdays
    from 11 am – 4 pm
  • Saturdays in December
    December 1, December 8, December 15
  • Saturdays in January
    January 12, January 26
  • Saturdays in February
    February 9, February 23
  • Saturdays in March
    March 9, March 23 (final weekend date before the exhibit closes!)
For information, tickets, or groups contact the German-American Heritage Foundation at [email protected] or (202) 467-5000.


719 6th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001