by Jessica Waytenick • November 9, 2016

NOVEMBER 2016 Quad Cities – The new exhibit, “The Untold Story of Santa: Behind the White Beard”, is open at the German American Heritage Center, 712 West 2nd Street in Davenport, Iowa.

The Creative Arts Academy of the Quad Cities and the German American Heritage Center have come together to create an exhibit about the one and only Santa Claus. The exhibit is free to visit and will include photo ops, elf workshops, find the pickle prizes, and more!

Visitors will learn about the different types of Christmas and representations of Santa across the world, all while enjoying the festive atmosphere. The exhibit contains three themes; History of Santa, Santa in Germany, and Santa around the world.  You might ask, "I thought Germans had almost all the same traditions as Americans?"  This is one of many questions that will be answered in this exhibit.  The Santa exhibit is suitable for all ages, young and old, and there will be something for everyone.  The exhibit will only last until January 8th, so hurry and come see it soon!

The German American Heritage Center itself is turning its building into Iowa’s largest Advent calendar!  Starting December 1, they will light up a different window like an Advent calendar until the 24th. 

Permanent Exhibit

In the German American Heritage Center’s interactive, audio-visual, intergenerational permanent exhibit, it takes visitors on an exploration of what it was like to be an immigrant to the Quad Cities area in the 1800s. 

The exhibit begins at an era 2,000 years before Germany unified.  The exhibit progresses through several interactive and intergenerational experiences from immigrants’ journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at the German American Heritage Center (GAHC), which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.  The second half of the exhibit shows contributions to the region by immigrants, and highlights daily life, from recreation, family life, religion and organizations.

Built around the late 1860s, the GAHC location appears to have had its earliest history in the hostelry enterprise.  Around 1872, the thirty-room hotel was a popular spot for many immigrants, visitors, and farmers who came to Davenport.  Its German character as a “Gast Haus” lasted well into the early years of the twentieth century.  This building is the last remaining immigrant hotel of the 1800s in the region, one of six surviving immigrant hotels in the country, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.         

GAHC Hours/Admission
The German American Heritage Center is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-4 pm and Sunday 12-4 pm.  Admission is $5 adults; $4 for ages 60 and up; $3 for ages 6-17.  For more information, visit or call 563-322-8844.  The German American Heritage Center is located at 712 West Second Street, Davenport, Iowa.

Discover these and many more marvels on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities.  Contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.  The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways.

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German American Heritage Center Media Contact: Kelly Lao, 563-322-8844 or

Photos & Media Trips: For High-res exhibit photos or for information about media tours, please contact Jessica Waytenick at the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 Ext. 827 or  


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