The Museum is excited to announce the recipient of this year’s Amandus Johnson Volunteer Award, Karin Kornaga. Karin has been a longtime member and devoted volunteer at the ASHM for over 30 years. If you have visited recently, you may have seen her captivating smile at the front desk or perhaps enjoyed hearing her sing in Swedish for the children during Toddler Time. Karin is also ever present at Midsommarfest, leading dances around the maypole, and at Lucia Fest, serving up delicious meatballs and other delicacies.
In 1962, Karin answered an advertisement in a Swedish newspaper for an au pair job in Montclair, New Jersey. She got the job and lived in Montclair for one year. Instead of returning home to Sweden, she decided that she wanted to see more of the United States. So she moved to New York City, and soon got a job as a clerk on Wall Street. She and a friend decided that they would save up, get a car and move to California, which they did in 1966. Karin ended up in San Francisco, where she found a job in the city’s famous Ferry Building. A young man whom she had met in New York followed her to San Francisco not long after she was settled; they got engaged, married and soon had two children.
Karin first came to Philadelphia when her family moved back to the East coast in 1970. They settled in Northeast Philly and she was a stay at home mom until 1978. After her husband passed away in 1983, Karin met a woman through her job who said she knew another “Swedish girl.” That turned out to be Ulla Britt Apell, who got Karin to join Midsommarklubben in 1985. Ever since then, Karin has been a part of this group of devoted Swedish women who help organize and run two of the Museum’s biggest events, Midsommarfest and Julbord. Around 2007, she took on new roles in the Museum, mostly with our education programs. Karin says that she truly loves working with and being around children, so she enjoys working with school groups, and has been helping pronounce words and sing in Swedish for Toddler Time since the program began in 2013.
The Museum brings Karin joy, particularly by being a part of something that preserves her native culture and traditions. We are so pleased to be able to honor Karin. Her sunny demeanor and willingness to take on any task have made her one of our most indispensable volunteers in recent years. We hope that you will join us at the Annual Meeting on September 10, when we present the Amandus Johnson Volunteer Award.