On September 6, the German-American Heritage Museum (GAHM) in Washington D.C. opened their largest and most complex exhibit to date with the launch of “UTOPIA – Revisiting a German State in America.” The exhibit explores a piece of German-American history that deserves more recognition that it normally gets; the attempted transport of American-style democaracy to Germany.
The Utopia exhibit showcases the period in history when several hundred disillusioned people from the German town of Giessen left for America in 1834 to escape the lack of democratic order in their country and set out to establish a German-speaking democracy in the United States. These individuals had the goal of taking what they had learned in America and return to Germany to establish a democratic order in their home country.
As the name of the exhibit suggests, their goal never reached fruition but many of the individuals went on to further shape American society through their involvement in politics and the support of the Abolitionist movement.
Photos, sounds, writings and artifacts are on display to capture this under appreciated time in history. “UTOPIA – Revisiting a German State in America”, will be on display at the GAHM until October 25, when it then heads to the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.