Construction moving at Polish Heritage Center

The Polish Heritage Center exhibit designer Steve Harding speaks to a steering committee for the campaign during a tour Oct. 10. Harding discussed the rich history that Panna Maria has with its Polish heritage and what the story will depict within the center.

PANNA MARIA – The exhibit designer, Steve Harding with Steve Harding Design Inc., for the Polish Heritage Center provided members an updated tour last week.

The center graciously offered the Karnes Countywide a tour of the facility.

After a steering committee meeting for the campaign, Harding began his presentation that walked the group through nearly exhibit by exhibit in the center.

Harding shared stories from what is entailed in some videos within exhibits.

A wand electronic device will give visitors an interactive experience that will allow the person to listen in Polish, English or Spanish for certain exhibits.

The center will feature a theater highlighting Father Leopold Moczygemba with a 30-minute movie.

“There will be 130 movies available throughout the center,” Harding said.

The Polish Heritage Center stated the need for more recollections and stories for the exhibits.

As you enter the rotunda, the Great Commandment of Jesus either in Polish, English and Spanish will be seen by the visitors.

The first exhibit across from the theater is a message from Pope John Paul II after he spent time in Poland in 1979.

A letter from Father Moczygemba to his family inviting them to Panna Maria highlights an exhibit inside the main hall.

Many more exhibits will feature core values that have preserved the Polish heritage in Panna Maria for generations.

Highlights will focus on early Polish immigrant settlements and lifeways in Texas.

The new, state-of-the-art, 16,500-square-foot center will be a unique destination for families, educational groups, scholars, researchers and visitors.

Books in Polish and English on a variety of subjects will be available for reading, educational purposes and scholarly research.

There is a genealogy room offering computer stations for visitors to access family research and photos.

Educational programs including curriculum based K-12th grade school and visitor tours and workshops also will be available.

Located in historic Panna Maria, which is the oldest permanent Polish settlement in the United States, and is a National Register Historical District, the center’s mission is to “keep vibrant and relevant the history, values, beliefs, customs and traditions of the Polish settlers and their descendants ... and to inspire, engage and educate our visitors.”

The center’s construction has cost $9.4 million with a final goal set for $14 million to compete the project.