From the age of the Vikings to the settlers of the New Sweden Colony (1638-1655), to contemporary issues in Scandinavian society, the American Swedish Historical Museum will take you back in time and across the sea to learn the stories of Swedes in America.

Flying to Blåkulla: Letters from an Easter Witch

Discover the Swedish mumming tradition of the Easter Witch (påskkäring) through a family’s handmade Easter letters (påskbrev). This exhibition will trace the traditions of the Easter Witch from the persecution of witches in the 18th century to the present-day celebration where children travel door-to-door collecting candy. Easter letters given to children during the holiday brought joy and fear, as the frightening images depicted witches flying to Blåkulla (Blue Hill), where they danced and dined with the Devil. Letters were sealed shut with wax and a feather, reminding children that they could be tickled to death by a witch.

The exhibition features handmade watercolors and drawings depicting witches, dancing children, trolls, and other fantastical things that showcase an intriguing archive of Swedish folk art. Passed down through the Batcheler Family from artist and great grandmother, Axeline Sahlin, these letters were sent from mother to daughter in the early twentieth century and represent a beloved custom still celebrated in Sweden today.