The German Immigrant Experience

Visitors will learn about immigrants’ journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center building, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s. The German American Heritage Center works to preserve and enrich the German immigrant experience and its impact on the American Culture. The museum also partners with other cultural groups to demonstrate the contributions immigrants from many countries and from varied backgrounds have made to the ethnic palette which is the United States.

Cost: Free to museum members or general admission.

The exhibit was designed by nationally recognized firm of Morgan-Bailey Consulting and includes an orientation theater, six education stations, and two restored hotel rooms.

At the “Step into my Shoes” exhibit section visitors will find footprints of a child, female and male. They can step on any set of the footprints, which then triggers the corresponding character to appear before them on a screen and talk about their personal experience as an immigrant. The narratives were developed from actual diary accounts and historical documents. Nine different characters appear at this station. Visitors may also try on clothing that immigrants would have worn during the turn of the century, and enjoy exploring many artifacts on display.

We are proud to announce the installation of brand new interactive, storytelling kiosks in our permanent exhibit. The Immigrant Passport Experience allows visitors to interact with the story of a real immigrant who picked up their entire life and immigrated to Davenport, in a variety of time periods. Each story speaks to a different experience, time period, age, and other circumstances of that person. Visitors can experience their story first in The Old World– learning what their life was like back in Germany and what was the impetus for their immigration. Then visitors observe The Journey– where the immigrant shares the story of the travails of their crossing the ocean to this new land. Finally, visitors watch as their storyteller is Planting Roots here in Davenport and how they experienced our area generations ago.