The American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia is the oldest Swedish Museum in the United States. The Museum was founded in 1926, the year that marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Americans from all backgrounds celebrated their heritage and their contributions to the United States of America at this time. A group of Swedish-Americans were inspired to build the Museum as a permanent monument to Swedish contributions in the United States. The location they chose was once part of a 17th-century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to colonist Sven Skute.
For 80 years, the Museum has been dedicated to preserving and promoting Swedish and Swedish-American cultural heritage and traditions. The Museum is a place where Swedes, Swedish-Americans, and people of all nationalities who appreciate Swedish contributions to history, art, architecture, music, science and technology, can come together.
The beautiful Museum building was designed by the Swedish-American architect John Nyden. His design was inspired by Eriksberg Slott, a 17th-century mansion in Sweden, and Mount Vernon, George Washington's home in Virginia. On June 2, 1926, Sweden's Crown Prince Gustav Adolf placed the Museum's cornerstone. By October the following year the construction was nearly finished.
The Museum today consists of 12 permanent galleries, one changing exhibition gallery, and a library. Three of the Museum's permanent galleries are devoted to the history of the New Sweden Colony, established in the Delaware Valley in 1638. The museum provides a wealth of information about this often unfamiliar period in our history. Other galleries, ranging in style from Art Deco to International, concentrate on more recent Swedish contributions, including those of John Ericsson, who built the Monitor; Fredrika Bremer, novelist and women's rights activist; and Jenny Lind, the soprano.
A Swedish farm-house interior, or stuga, honors the large wave of Swedish immigration during the second half of the 19th century, and one gallery is dedicated to Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes. Included in the collections on display are beautiful examples of Swedish glass and works by Carl Larsson, Carl Milles, and Anders Zorn.
Between March 9 and August 27, 2006 the changing exhibition gallery will feature the exhibition Becoming Americans: Swedes in the time of Franklin. This exhibition explores the many ways in which the Swedish settlers adapted to their new environment, the rapidly changing governments, and the evolving social expectations of the new American society taking shape around them.
American Swedish Historical Museum
1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Tours And Hours Of Operation