special exhibitoons


Photo courtesy of Charlie Bennet



































United Stockholms of America

On view September 13, 2015 thru February 2016

Did you know that there are at least eight towns in the United States named Stockholm? Each one is unique in its landscape, location, and population, yet all pay homage to the great Swedish capital. Come to the Museum this fall and discover the landscapes and people of each town when you visit our upcoming exhibition, United Stockholms of America, abeautiful, large-format photography exhibition by Swedish photographer, Charlie Bennet. Bennet eagerly traveled among the communities in the US that carry the name Stockholm; carefully photographing and documenting the varying degrees of Swedishness they embody.

Most of these towns are now sparsely populated, often desolate, yet lovely resorts that do not have much in common with Stockholm in Sweden. In the south of Texas only a sandy graveyard remains, and Stockholm in Minnesota is a shadow of its former self. But, in Anderson's Store in Maine, one can meet people with Swedish sounding names like Lundqvist, Anderson and Bondeson. One Mainer that Bennet encountered even spoke Swedish! Another Stockholm, in Wisconsin, is now a beautiful tourist destination that attracts visitors in droves.

"You'll find surprisingly many traces of the Swedish heritage and a couple of resorts are strikingly beautiful. But in some of these towns you will find only a Swedish name when walking around the graveyard, which is a strange experience for a modern- day Swede," says Charlie Bennet.

The point of departure for this project is the massive emigration that occurred from Sweden in the late 1800s and in the beginning of the last century. Approximately 1.2 million people left Sweden altogether. Many of them stayed and worked hard to shape and inform the identity of the United States as it grew and changed—leaving their mark in several Scandinavian influenced communities.

The various Stockholms represented in the exhibition are located in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Texas, and South Dakota. And, of course, the original Stockholm in Sweden. 

Charlie Bennet's photos and travels are also documented in the book United Stockholm of America – The Swedes Who Stayed, which we will have available in our gift shop. Accompanying Bennet’s stunning photography in the book are beautifully written stories by Gabriel Mellqvist and Anna Maria Bernitz. Each vignette delves into the lives of the people who reside in these various Stockholms. 

United Stockholms of America will be on view through February 2016. Don’t miss this extraordinary photographic documentary about the Swedes who stayed!

Visit photographer Charlie Bennet's website here.

United Stockholms of America was originally curated by Anna Maria Bernitz. All photographs are by Charlie Bennet. This exhibition is supported by grants from the ASHM Auxiliary, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, George C. and Esther Ann McFarland Foundation, Midsommarklubben, and an anonymous foundation. Support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Funding for the American Swedish Historical Museum is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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Workers of the World, Awaken! The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill

On view now

Come celebrate the spirit of Labor Day by learning more about Joe Hill (born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund), the Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, cartoonist, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. Executed in 1915 by the State of Utah for a double murder in Salt Lake City, he quickly became a martyr for the cause of organized labor. His songs and letters, as well as tributes to him, galvanized striking workers throughout the 20th Century. Now, 100 years after his death, Hill’s life and work still inspire. Workers of the World, Awaken! The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill opens on ASHM’s balcony level and will remain on view through the summer of 2016.












Also currently showing



Fact and Fiction: Getting to Know Sweden's Authors

In a small exhibition located in the Kalm-Seaborg Gallery on the second floor, ASHM examines Swedish authors whose works have leaped across culture lines to impact the American literary landscape.  From Carl Linnaeus’s writings about scientific taxonomy in the 1700s to the socio-political themes explored by crime novelist Stieg Larsson in the 21st century, this “mini” exhibit features objects and images that illuminate the life and times of some of Sweden’s best-known authors.

A Common Thread: Tradition and Trend in Swedish Textiles

Whether they are created for function or fashion, Swedish textiles are well-crafted, colorful, and full of detail. A Common Thread uses the museum’s collection to explore the themes of technique, style and material employed to create Swedish clothes, weavings, embroidery, and other handiwork. The exhibition looks at the ways in which Swedish textiles communicate class, gender, cultural identity and social trends. Highlights from the collection include examples of Saami outerwear, Swedish provincial costumes, household linens, decorative wall hangings, tools and modern examples of Swedish style. A hands-on table with wool, linen, silk, leather and fur, is available for visitors to handle and explore textile materials on their own.

Sven Birger Sandzen

Sven Birger Sandzén is the featured artists on the balcony level. Sandzén was born in Blidsberg, Sweden, in 1871 and studied art in Skara, Stockholm. He moved to the United States as a young man and enjoyed a long, distinguished career as an art professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. On view is a selection of Sandzén’s wood block prints, drypoints, oil paintings, watercolors, and hand-made greeting cards from the ASHM collection. 

Upcoming Exhibitions

Flowers & Monsters: Hand-carved Furniture by Karl von Rydingsvärd, opens April 3, 2016

Skål! Scandinavian Spirits, opening 2017


Past Exhibitions

To view more information about past exhibitions at ASHM click here>>

Photograph credits
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