By Myra Lee Adams Goff
Emmie Seele Faust was the daughter of one of New Braunfels’ most outstanding citizens, Hermann Seele. He provided a good roll model for his daughter and for her 90 years, she contributed much to her beloved city.
Mrs. Faust’s father, you recall, taught the first school in NB and it was only natural that his daughter would be interested in education. She was active in many philanthropic activities, but her crowning star was the establishment of a local public library. She donated a large amount at the time ($7,439.37) for the stone building on the corner of Coll and Magazine.
The Emmie Seele Faust Memorial Library was open from 1938 to 1967 when it became the storage place for the Sophienburg’s collections. But the collections grew and grew. This year under the supervision of Helen Hoffmann and Keva Boardman, the collections were reorganized and moved to the old museum building on the corner of Coll and Academy.
So what about the little library building? Now the Sophienburg Museum Association has launched a campaign to renovate this historic building and turn it into a public access meeting room and classroom. Like some library books, this renovation project is long overdue.
Plans for this building were unveiled recently at the Volunteer gathering at the Sophienburg. For a pledge of $200 you may have your name exhibited in the renovated library. This is your opportunity to preserve some of our history.
What are all these collections? Many items are from NB’s earliest days, and items that were used to set up the museum. The collections are from people who see the value in keeping things that become more historically valuable with time. Collections are used for educational purposes. They represent who the people were and who they are now. The Sophienburg is the guardian of these collections.
Program Director Keva Boardman uses what she learns from these collections to present educational programs, mostly for children. She and volunteer Carolyn Phelan organize a day-long history program for all 4th graders in the NBISD. This cooperative effort, paid for by the NBISD Education Foundation, includes a living history program at Heritage Village, and finally an educational tour of the Sophienburg Museum.
Boardman conducts other educational programs at the Museum. Recently she and Sophienburg Director Linda Dietert presented a program on early thread to the Ferdinand Lindheimer Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. As an example of what is done for the school children, the “Plants to Thread” program covered early plants from which thread was obtained. Cotton and flax (for linen) were the most common. From the collection the group was shown a spinning wheel, carders, and a drop spindle and some flax brought from Germany by an early settler.
How are the museum, the archives and all the programs funded? First the Sophienburg is a not-for-profit organization depending on individual donations, grants, and finally the big fund-raiser of the year, Weihnachtsmarkt. Held in the Kongresshalle (Civic Center), Weihnachtsmarkt is truly a Christmas shopping extravaganza. A private gala launches the market this Thursday. Reservations are necessary.
This Friday, doors will be open from 10:00a.m. - 6:00p.m.. Something new this year will be “Wine and Cheese Shopping” on Friday only from 6:00p.m. - 9:00p.m. for those who would rather shop in the evening. Reservations are suggested, but tickets may be purchased at the door as space is available. Call 629-1572.
Saturday’s time is from 10:00a.m. - 6:00p.m., with “Breakfast with Santa” from 8:30a.m. - 10:00a.m. Call for reservations.
Finally, Sunday’s time is from 11:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. All three days, Sophie’s Koffee Haus serves homemade German fare.
Co-chairmen Allison Humphries and Erin Hindman invite you to launch your Christmas season and help the Sophienburg maintain the quality of programs and maintain the history of NB for which they are known.