From landfall in Wilmington, Delaware in 1638 and cultivating peaceful trade relationships with the Lenape and Susquehannock Indians, to suffering relentless pressure from the Dutch and eventual abandonment by the Homeland, this exhibit explores the countless obstacles that New Sweden colonists endured. Although this small colony ultimately fell to the Dutch in 1655, Swedes and Finns continued to visit and settle in the area. Settlers old and new looked to Sweden to sustain their cultural traditions, especially their religion. In 1697, the first of a succession of Church of Sweden ministers arrived. They kept coming from Sweden until the last pastor from the Swedish Mission, Nils Collin, arrived in 1770. Swedish artists Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755) and Adolph-Ulrich Wertmüller (1751-1811) also came to live and work in the Delaware Valley. Hesselius painted the portraits of Lenape Chiefs Lapowinsa and Tishcohan. He was widely considered the leading painter of the Middle Colonies. In 1794 Wertmüller, a court painter in Sweden, painted General George Washington’s portrait. These artists, with their Old World artistic techniques and sensibilities, helped establish a fine arts tradition in the New World.
Through rare collection objects, historic documents and images, this traveling exhibition explores the origins of the New Sweden Colony, the cultural endurance of the settlement that made it possible for Swedes and Finns to continue to immigrate to the area in the 18th and 19th centuries and how we preserve the past by commemorating New Sweden’s legacy today.
This new exhibition will be on view at the New Jersey State Museum through May 17, 2009. The American Swedish Historical Museum features Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden June 7 to November 22, 2009 and the exhibition’s final venue will be the Historical Society of Delaware in Wilmington from December 18, 2009 through March 20, 2010. Click here to view an invitation to a special reception featuring Colony to Community at New Jersey State Museum>>
The ASHM is seeking nominations for its 2009 Spirit of Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award. The award is presented to an individual, individuals or organization who/which has demonstrated a commitment to humanitarianism through acts which achieve a significant contribution, other than money, to alleviate human suffering or injustice, involved sacrifices or risks and are performed without expectation of reward or recognition. The award is named after Raoul Wallenberg, the courageous Swedish diplomat and his work to save Hungarian Jews during World War II.
The Spirit of Raoul Wallenberg Award consists of a cash prize of $5,000 and a specially designed bowl from Orrefors, Sweden which is presented to the award recipient at the award ceremony which is scheduled for October of 2009.
The Raoul Wallenberg Selection Committee is currently accepting nominations for the museum’s 2009 award. Nominations forms may be downloaded here and must be submitted by September 30, 2008.
Carrie Hogan, ASHM Curator commented on the age-old tradition of Valborgsmässoafton in a WHYY interview broadcast the day of the annual event.
On April 12, Håkan Swahn was presented the 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award at The American Swedish Historical Museum. The award recognizes a Swede or Swedish-American for excelling in their field. Håkan Swahn is the founder and co-owner of one of New York City's finest restaurants, Aquavit, which started a renaissance of Swedish cuisine in the U.S. The award presentation was a highlight of the museum's annual Spring Ting! fundraiser which raised money for museum exhibitions and educational programs.
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