New Sweden Farmstead Museum

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New Sweden Farmstead Museum
Dissolvedcirca 2015

The New Sweden Farmstead Museum was an open-air museum in Bridgeton, New Jersey, United States. A recreation of a 17th-century Swedish farmstead, it was located in City Park, and served as a historical remembrance of the history of the Swedish and Finnish people who arrived as part of the colony of New Sweden in early America. Originally opened in 1988, it operated as a living museum for many years. As funding and attendance declined, the log buildings at the complex fell into disrepair, requiring it to close.

Beginning in 2011, fundraising and restoration efforts allowed a partial re-open. Later, a decision was made to move the museum's buildings to Governor Printz Park in the community of Essington, Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania.[1] On June 1, 2019, the newly restored residence building was dedicated in the park, and the remaining six building will be reconstructed when funds are available.

New Sweden[edit]

Although not part of the New Sweden Farmstead Museum, the Mortonson-Van Leer Log Cabin in Swedesboro is a log building typical of New Sweden

In 1638, Swedes and Finns arrived in the Delaware Valley on the ships the Kalmar Nyckel and Fogel Grip to found the colony of New Sweden. Tradition holds that a settlement was first planted by a group of Finns in and around Finns Point almost immediately.[2][3][4] among them, the family of Anders Sinicka, whose surname has many variations.[5] [6][7][8][9] In 1643 they built Fort Nya Elfsborg near Salem. Spreading across South Jersey into what is now Salem, Cumberland, and Gloucetser they built farming communities along its rivers and streams.[10] Eric Pålsson Mullica was an early settler remembered in many regional placenames. By 1649 villages at Sveaborg, now Swedesboro, New Jersey, and Nya Stockholm, today's Bridgeport, where established. It has been suggested that the presence of Forest Finns was influential in the development of log building in the USA.[11]

There are several original structures in the region from the era which are among some of the oldest buildings in New Jersey and some of the oldest non-Spanish built in the United States. Among them are the Caesar Hoskins Log Cabin, the C. A. Nothnagle Log House, the Mortonson-Van Leer Log Cabin (originally located on Raccoon Creek and moved to Old Swedes Church in Swedesboro),[12][13] the Swedish Granary[14][15][16] and the Swedish Cabin at Hancock House.[17]

Construction and opening[edit]

The New Sweden Company, Incorporated was established in 1983 with the mission recreate a village to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the European colonists.[18] The project was originally intended to be built in Salem but after some controversy it was decided the locate it in Bridgeton.[19][20][21]

The museum was built in 1987. A team of experts associated with the Riksförbundet för Hembygdvärd (National Association for Homestead Care) from Sweden supervised the on-site construction of the log structures using traditional materials and methods to replicate a 17th-century farmstead, or gård. It comprised a farmhouse/residence, a blacksmith shop, a storehouse, a Granary (threshing barn), a stable, a barn with outhouse, a sauna and a Smokehouse. Furnaces, chimneys, and fireplaces were also authentically constructed. The collection included furnishings, farm equipment, and other artifacts genuinely of Swedish-Finnish origin[18][22][23] which by 2011 had been inventoried and moved from temporary to climate controlled storage.[24][25][26]

The museum was formally opened on April 14, 1988 by Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden accompanied by Governor of New Jersey Thomas Kean and his wife Deborah. The royal family donated candleholders to the museum.[17][27]

Fundraising and subsequent closure[edit]

The farmstead remained a popular attraction in the area for about 10 years, but following a downturn in the local economy, funding and attendance declined and the attraction was closed.[1]

By 2011, the New Sweden Colonial Homestead Foundation was fundraising to restore and re-open the museum. The elements had taken their toll on the buildings; at the time, it was estimated that $10,000 per structure was needed for roof repairs.[28]

In September 2011, a fundraising reception was attended by the Swedish Ambassador to the United States, Jonas Hafström to draw attention to the foundation's efforts.[28][29][30] Various fundraising activities at the farmstead were done in collaboration with summer youth programs. The homestead received grants from Cumberland County and Swedish Council of America, among others.[24] In 2012 the foundation received $10,000 donation from owners of Bridgeton-based Whibco.[31] The Swedish Colonial Society was also enlisted to help with restoration efforts.[32]

Eventually plans were made to permanently close and move the museum. In 2015, a move to Wilmington, Delaware (site of New Sweden's Fort Christina) was considered.[33] Later, a decision was made to move the buildings to Governor Printz Park in the community of Essington, Tinicum Township, Pennsylvania, the site of New Sweden's The Printzhof.[1] On June 1, 2019, the newly reconstructed residence building was dedicated in the park and, as of 2020, the stable and forge are being reconstructed, with the remaining four buildings in storage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mathews, Joseph (2017). "Resurrect The Farmstead: Buy a Log" (PDF). The Swedish Colonial Society Journal. Vol. 5, no. 7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Swedish Colonial Society. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Seventeenth Century Salem County, New Jersey – 1600 through 1699" (PDF). Salem County Office of Archives and Records Management. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  3. ^ Math Teacher (December 10, 2010). "First Colony of Settlers of Finnish Blood - Pennsville, NJ". Waymarking. Retrieved 2013-07-28. FINNS POINT Near Here 300 Years Ago and Later Lived the First Colony Of Settlers of Finnish Blood Upon This Continent **To Their Memory and To The Love of Freedom And Justice that They Handed Down to Their Descendants This Tablet is Erected June 30, 1938
  4. ^ "Finns Point". Finnish Place Names - New Jersey. Genealogia. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  5. ^ "Old Chest". Rootsweb. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  6. ^ Dunlap, A.R.; E. J. Moyne. "The Finnish Language on the Delaware". Genealogia. Retrieved 2013-07-28. Sinick Brour is called a Finn in a land record in Vol. XV (p. 61) of the Penn MSS (Historical Society of Pennsylvania). On the Finnish origin of the Sinnexson, or Sennecson, family see The journal and Biography of Nicholas Collin, tr. Amandus Johnson (Philadelphia, 1936), p. 227
  7. ^ Vuorinen, Ask (December 27, 2012). "The Delaware Finns". Retrieved 2013-07-27. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ McMahon, William, South Jersey Towns (PDF), Rutgers University Press[dead link]
  10. ^ Carney, Leo H. (April 19, 1987). "NEW JERSEY JOURNAL; SWEDES IN NEW JERSEY". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  11. ^ Spiegel, Taru. "The Finns in America". European Reading Room. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  12. ^ Myhrhild, Jan (April 2012). "Meeting New Sweden A Norwegian exploring the Forest Finn heritage" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  13. ^ "Mortonson-Van Leer Log Cabin". Gloucester County. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  14. ^ "Swedish Store House and Granary". Cumberland County Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  15. ^ "The Swedish Granary". Cumberland County. Archived from the original on 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2013-06-22.
  16. ^ "Swedish Granary". West Jersey Traveller. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  17. ^ a b Winquist, Alan H.; Rousselow-Winquist, Jessica (2006), Touring Swedish America (2nd ed.), Minnesota Historical Society Press, ISBN 978-0-87351-559-7
  18. ^ a b "New Sweden Farmstead Museum". Cumberland County. Archived from the original on 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  19. ^ Dumas, Kitty (August 26, 1987). "Fearing Loss Of Tourism, Salem Sues Over A Village". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  20. ^ 2 Towns Fight Over Past and Future, Jansen (September 4, 1987). "Donald". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  21. ^ Dumas, Kitty (September 4, 1987). "Swedish Village Finally Settles In Bridgeton". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  22. ^ "New Sweden Farmstead Museum". Field Trip. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  23. ^ City of Salem Municipal Port Authority (September 1984). Recreation Facility Plan (Final Report) (Report). GPO. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  24. ^ a b "Gateway summer program youth to collaborate with New Sweden Colonial Farmstead in Bridgeton". The News of Cumberland County. June 21, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  25. ^ Hummel, Jack (September 8, 2011). "BEN Column: George Timmon's face book; Flavia's New Sweden Colonial Farmstead; Flag response overwhelming;". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  26. ^ "Artifacts Move: January 30 and February 1-2, 2013 Photography". Flavia Alaya. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  27. ^ O'Brien, Ellen; Chris Conway (April 15, 1987). "The Royal Visit During A Daylong Tour Of New Jersey, The King And Queen Of Sweden Help Bridgeton Open A New Museum". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  28. ^ a b Adomaitis, Greg (September 11, 2011). "Swedish ambassador to visit Bridgeton's colonial farmstead". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  29. ^ "Bridgeton Hosts the Swedish Ambassador". New Sweden Colonial Homestead. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  30. ^ Cook Jr., Jim (September 24, 2011). "Swedish Ambassador Hafström welcomed to Bridgeton". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  31. ^ Young, Alex (August 28, 2012). "New Sweden Colonial Farmstead in Bridgeton receives $10,000 gift for renovations". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  32. ^ "Meeting at the Swedish Embassy, Washington, D.C." Swedish Colonial Society. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  33. ^ Hummel, Jack (3 April 2015). "Bridgeton's Swedish Farmstead will move to Wilmington". Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  34. ^ "Day 249 - Bridgeton". and Swedish Council of America. Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

Coordinates: 39°26′05″N 75°14′12″W / 39.4346°N 75.2368°W / 39.4346; -75.2368

External links[edit]