Special Event

American Swedish Historical Museum - Courtesy of Roger D. Thorne

2019 Special Member Excursion

On Sunday 25 August 2019, a group of Society members and guests joined a Special Member Excursion to the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia.

Decades before the Penn Grant, the New Sweden Colony was established in the Delaware Valley in 1638, and five years later, in the autumn of 1643, the first European community in Pennsylvania was founded by Sweden. Yet most Anglo-centric historians seem unaware of Sweden's important contribution within the Delaware Valley decades before the English arrived.

Founded in 1926, the beautiful American Swedish Historical Museumis located within FDR Park, just north of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, and is the oldest Swedish museum in the United States. 1926 marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Americans from all backgrounds were celebrating their heritage and their contributions to the United States of America. The museum's founder, Dr. Amandus Johnson, inspired a group of committed, successful Swedish-Americans to build the Museum as a permanent monument to Swedish contributions in the United States.

The Museum site was once part of a seventeenth-century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to Swedish colonist, Sven Skute. The Museum's architect, Swedish-American John Nydén, combined architectural features from three prominent edifices in his design. He modeled the main building after a seventeenth-century Swedish manor house, Eriksberg in Södermanland. The copper cupola atop the building is inspired by the one on Stockhlom's City Hall, and the arcades which flank the Museum are patterned after those at George Washington's home, Mount Vernon.

The Museum's 20,000 square foot interior contains twelve exhibition galleries, reference library, curatorial storage and archives, offices, museum store, large dining room/conference area and kitchen.

Our itinerary for this entertaining and educational visit:

  • 1:15 pm – Arrival at the American Swedish Historical Museum, located at 1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, where we gathered in the Museum's palatial Grand Hall. Plenty of parking was available on the Museum grounds.
  • 1:30 pm – Mr. Larry Ward, an expert on local Swedish colonization, represents the Mouns Jones House and the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County. He spoke on the cultural impact of the New Sweden Colony in the early 17th Century, and particularly the Swedish settlements along the Schuylkill River corridor north and west of the Delaware River. A time of Q&A was encouraged.
  • 2:15 pm – A guided tour of the exhibits within the stunningly furnished Museum was led by ASHM's Curator.
  • 3:15 pm – There was a time for refreshments, the opportunity to informally re-visit galleries and exhibits that you found especially interesting, and a chance to visit the unique Museum shop.
  • 4:00 pm – Museum closes.

This event was held at American Swedish Historical Museum located at 1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 (215-389-1776) on Sunday 25 August 2015, starting at approximately 1:15 pm. Advance reservations, with paid tickets at $35 per person, were required.


Page last updated: 2019-09-03 at 10:38 EDT
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