Hermann was founded by German immigrants, and the Deutschheim State Historic Site is meant to preserve that heritage.
As the Visit Hermann website explains, the museum “captures the culture and heritage of the Germans who migrated to Missouri in the mid- to late-19th century through exhibits and galleries of changing artifacts and photographs.”
Hermann was established in 1837 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia to be a haven for German culture. The town’s location was chosen based on its proximity to the Missouri River, and it has also become known for its abundance of wineries.
The core buildings that make up the Deutschheim historic site were donated to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 1978 by a preservation group known as the Hermann Brush and Palette Club.
Among the attractions at Deutschheim are the Pommer-Gentner House and Strehly House, both among the oldest surviving structures in town and the homes of founding families.
The historic site also has a four-square garden decorated with vegetables grown by 19th-century German immigrants such as cabbage, carrots, radishes, chives, onions, kohlrabi and kale.
The garden and grounds are open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset. The gardens at Deutschheim are included in an annual tour sponsored by the Hermann Garden Club during the first weekend in June.
Finally, a traditional German celebration known as Weihnachtsfest is held at Deutschheim during the first two weekends in December. The site is decorated with authentic German Christmas decorations, and guests can sample traditional holiday treats.
The gift shop features springerle molds and rolling pins, recipe books, imported German pop-up cards and a selection of unique books for Christmas gift giving, according to the website.
Deutschheim is “part of the history of the United States, the history of Missouri,” said Katy Holmer, the historic site administrator.
Holmer believes Deutschheim can appeal to any visitor, whether or not they have German heritage.
“We’ve got a lot of visitors with no German background,” she said. “If you are interested in music, in newspaper publishing, in Civil War history or in gardening, we cover all sorts of areas of interest.”