Tinsmith and Metal Work An Amana tradition from the start Metalwork has been taking place in the Colonies from the beginning. These artisans are keeping…
If you haven’t been to the Amana Heritage Museum you haven’t really been to the Amana Colonies.
We find that visitors that take the time to learn about our unique history actually enjoy their visit more. It puts a different perspective on the architecture, foods, and overall culture that makes the Amana Colonies a place like no other.
Amana Heritage Society
The Amana Heritage Society has four historic sites and an expertly trained staff for you to learn about the unique history of the Amana Colonies.
- Start your visit at the main campus in Amana with a 20-minute video explaining our history.
- Then stroll the grounds and buildings to view artifacts from the communal days.
- The staff will be able to answer your questions on life during the communal era and to give you insight on just how our ancestors lived.
Plan for at least 1 hour including the video.
Then we suggest a short 2-mile drive to the village of Middle Amana to see the only surviving intact communal kitchen. You’ll learn about the life of a kitchen boss and how each of the over 50 kitchens cooked and served 40 people, 5 times a day.
High Amana General Store
Your next stop should be in High Amana and the General Store. To step into this store is to step back in time at least 100 years. The wood floor and the tin ceilings, the wood, and glass display cases and the coal oil pump are all original. It is still an operating store but the products have changed over the years with the customers.
Travel around the Colonies to the village of Homestead to learn more about the heart and soul of the community, the religion. The Homestead Church was one of the seven churches used by the community but now serves as a museum to give a glimpse to our visitors of what an Amana Church is like. Guides will explain our beliefs and customs and answer your questions.
The Amana religion is at the center of our culture. It is the reason we exist and why we left Germany to come to the New World. Church services are still held in German, but since the early 1960s have also been conducted in English. The Amana Heritage Society does a wonderful job of explaining the Amana religion and a trip to their museum sites should be on your list of things to do.
Extra Stops to Experience
A couple of other stops will also be enjoyable. Located in West Amana adjacent to the Broom and Basket Shop are the Philip Dickel Basket Museum and the Giant Rocker. The Basket Museum displays the basket making techniques of the Amana Colonies. Philip Dickel kept the craft alive and passed it on to several current basket makers. Learn about the unique styles of baskets made in the communal era and today. Next door you’ll find the Giant Rocker. It’s Iowa’s largest walnut rocker.
Bring your camera, as you’ll want to get a shot of your family as they all sit in the rocker at one time.
Two miles south you’ll find the Mini-Americana Barn Museum. Mini-Americana is the largest known collection of miniature replicas built by one man, woodworker Henry Moore (1911-1983). Thrill to the flavor of a place where miniature family farmland and small-town history still lives. Three Farmsteads are in the exhibition as well as a typical rural Iowa town with barbershop, lumber yard, and other buildings. Children and adults can marvel at the historical accuracy of how the Iowa pioneers and small-town people lived at the turn of the century.
These stops will help you to gain an understanding and to increase your enjoyment of the Amana Colonies.