In Trunks, Hearts, and Hands

The German American Heritage Center invites you to explore and celebrate immigration to Iowa in a new display “In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Immigrants Bring to Iowa,” on view from April 6th to April 29th at the German American Heritage Center. There will be also be a speaker from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum on April 29th at 2 PM.

An immigrant is a person who comes into a country to make it a permanent home. Some immigrants are also refugees. A refugee has been forced to flee his or her country. Iowa has become home to thousands of immigrants since the state first opened to settlers.

The display explores immigration through the objects, skills, and traditions that were and are brought. “Some objects were needed for the journey, some for the new home, and some things were just too special to leave behind,” explained Hannah Frederick, Collections Manager at Ames Historical Society. “We all enjoy a richer and more vibrant life because of immigrants and the things that they bring.”

Thirteen museums and organizations shared stories, artifacts, and historic photos for this traveling banner display. From Ames Historical Society comes a photo of John Terrones, who came from Mexico to Ames in 1925. After a year of working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, a foreman loaned him money to bring his wife and son. The foreman, who was also an immigrant, knew that Iowa wouldn’t feel like a real home until the family was together.

The exhibition was created by Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, and is sponsored by Humanities Iowa, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Edwin R. and Joan T. Hemphill.