If your lineage is from the Texas Hill Country, then there’s a good possibility you’ll want to make the journey up I-35 to Temple, Texas, to tour and discover all that makes up the Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center. Not only will you discover parts of what may be your family’s heritage, or your neighbors (explaining the wonderful smells that waft from their kitchen window each night), but you’ll also get to enjoy the amazing repository of unique and amazing items on display which have been donated over the years to this monument to Texan Czech heritage.
Things to Do
Texas Czech Heritage: Culturally, Educationally, & Genealogically Fostered in Temple
Dedicated to fostering Czech cultural, educational, and genealogical opportunities, the museum houses artifacts and develops heritage programs under three categories:
- The history and rich culture of the Czech lands from 500 c.e. to present;
- The story of Czech immigrants in Texas from 1850 to the early 1900s;
- The story of Czech-Americans connecting with their identities and families during the Cold War and in today’s Czech Republic.
Located on the cusp of the central business district and the historic residence district of Temple, the Czech Heritage Museum & Genealogy Center sits in a mosaic-tiled 1931 storefront on one of the main arteries through town. Although it was established in 2000, the collection itself has been accumulated since 1963 under the name of the SPJST (Slovanská Podporující Jednota Statu ) Library, Archives and Museum – a fraternal organization in Texas, started by Czech immigrants in the 1800s. When a call for donations went out in the organization’s weekly newspaper, almost immediately it was inundated with items from Czech families around the state who were willing to help establish the collection. Over the years, these items were curated by volunteers, and in 2001, the museum opened in its current location, which is next door to the main offices of the SPJST.