TEMPLE (May 4, 2013)--The Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center is ready to strike up the band with their new exhibit, Czech Musika Texas Style. "Their music is based out of a lot of stock of European type music, Polka, waltzes," said Don Mear, Curator at the museum.
"It's incredible how many bands that we've run across from photographs that have been sent and given to us." Mear says they are featuring around 25 to 30 bands.
Texas has a large Czech population especially around the eastern-mid, eastern-half of Texas from the Red River all the way down to the coast, according the Mear. Most of those who immigrated into Texas wanted to be farmers.
"The Blackland area is the most fertile areas in Texas and that is where most of the Czechs settled."
Czech people began coming to America from the 1850's to the 1920's. "They were Czech under the Austrian/Hungarian rule back in the 1800's and prior to that as well," said Mear.
"They were oppressed. The government owned all of the land. They couldn't own anything. They were also being forced into the Austrian military and parents wanted their children to get out of that situation."
They heard of farmland in Texas that they could own and set out to gain a new home.
The museum's recently opened exhibit is showing a lot of the bands that played throughout Texas in the early days.
"We have lots of phonographs and records that we are featuring as well as instruments of the day," said Mear. "One of the things that we are really trying to talk about and talk up is the community centers and dance halls."
There was no television, no radio, so it was a place where the communities got together to have fun, bring the family, and enjoy lots of polka and waltz music.
Black and white photos adorn the walls with bands posing with their instrument in hand. A hand cranked phonograph glides the needle across vinyl as a happy tune plays throughout the building.
Along the walls and tucked away in glass cases are accordions, a piano, drum, dulcimer and more. The exhibit runs through December at the museum located at, 515 N 3rd Street, Temple.