IMG_0597The Galveston Heritage Festival is seeking 50 objects that represent what Galveston’s immigration history means to you. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West,” Galveston’s port was a primary point of entry for thousands of immigrants settling across Texas and the western United States. These immigrant groups would establish communities throughout the southern United States, and beyond. Did your family lineage immigrate through Galveston? Does your family history include a unique artifact, photo or item that you want to put on display? It could be one of 50 items that will be selected from the public for this temporary exhibit set up at the Garten Verein.

“Most exhibits are created from the top down, with museums and curators telling the public what they think is important,” explains Renee Tallent, GHF’s Manager of Collections. “By crowdsourcing the objects for this exhibit, we’re letting the community tell us what is important. The exhibit will feature family photographs and objects highlighting local individuals. When you learn about immigration and then have the ability to tie it to a specific person, see a photograph of them and look at something they owned and touched, that history becomes more tangible. We really wanted to give people a chance to tell their own family’s story.”

An example of items displayed last year are the Czech prayer books that belonged to the Kaluza family. Both Joseph Kaluza and his wife Frances Kolenovsky immigrated through Galveston in the early 1900s. The Kaluza family has a wonderful story about their first arrivals staying in quarantine at Pelican Island. By looking at a picture of Frances, reading about the family, and seeing the prayer books, we hope visitors will get a personal connection to Galveston’s immigration history.

Make your plans now to join us on Saturday, August 6 for a day full of great food, craft beer, live entertainment and Galveston’s rich immigration history on display! Click here for tickets and more information.

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