The Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture houses a large collection of domestic Biedermeier style furniture by New Braunfels’ German immigrant community made between 1850 and 1870. The museum sits on 11 acres of land that houses the Breustedt House, which is the current museum today.

The background

“In the 1840s, here in Texas, it was completely a frontier area. So, there were ample resources for these woodworkers to come and harvest trees and turn them into the beautiful works that we see in the museum,” said Justin Ball, executive director of the Heritage Society of New Braunfels and curator of the museum.

Life in the Hill Country influenced German Texans to showcase their woodworking and cabinetmaking skills.

The museum features over 100 pieces of handmade furniture donated by the late Bill and Nan Dillen, who played a key role in organizing the New Braunfels Conservation Society. They lived in Breustedt House for nearly 10 years, Ball said. Woodwork from prominent tischlermeisters (master carpenters) Johann Jahn, Franz Stautzenberger and Heinrich Scholl Jr. are part of the collection.

A closer look

The Breustedt House was first home to Andreas and Caroline Breustedt and their 12 children. The central hall inside the museum is the family room where a walnut wardrobe made by Franz Stautzenberger is displayed. Other furniture on display are plank chairs made by Johann Jahn. The front bedroom of the house showcases a pine-carved clock and oil paintings of the Breustedt’s neighbors Wilhem and Caroline Trundt Brueckish.

The walnut sofa is attributed to Stautzenberger because of the design. Other collections in the house include pine tables and chairs, a walnut dining table, beds, working desks, kitchen sets, bedding, cabinets and more.

In total, the house has four rooms and an attic. Later additions made by the Dillens were removed in 1965.

“It's a wonderful thing, you know, that we have these objects. The furniture that we have in the museum is very reflective of those middle class people that came here by and large. And so the furniture that these tischlermeisters [master carpenters] were producing was catered to that audience," Ball said.

More details

In addition to the property is a sewing haus, Solms School, pavilion, barn and cabinet shop, general store and a blacksmith shop. The museum hosts interactive demonstrations like weaving, blacksmithing and broom making. The museum’s hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Before and after hour tours are available by appointment.