Swedish History at the New Sweden Centre | Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard | Wilmington, Delaware
Celebrating Colonists Day 2014 are, from left, Mark Hogate, Donn Draper, Aleasa Hogate, descendant of Anders Larsson Dalbo 1640, Donna Draper's granddaughter, Bill Hutchinson, portraying Peter Minuit, and Chief Dennis Coker of the Lenape Tribe. Check out the video of Colonists Day 2012 on this page, below left.
First State National Historic Park, the nation's newest national park in Delaware, is expanding its activities to include grants to take school children on field trips to cultural and heritage sites. Click here for more on park developments.
"The Landing of the Swedes" by Stanley M. Arthurs
depicts the first contact in 1638 between the Swedish settlers and Native Americans.
The meeting took place along the Christina River in present-day Wilmington.
The image is made possible through the generosity of the Permanent Collection of the University of Delaware
The New Sweden Centre, a 5013c nonprofit organization headquartered in Wilmington, De., offers
educational outreach programs and historic reenactors.
Who are we?
Volunteers, educators, history buffs
What do we do?
Promote Delaware Valley's history 1638-1776 with focus on Swedish, Finnish and Lenape culture
Where are we?
As a museum without walls, we have exhibits throughout the Delaware Valley. Our main exhibit is in JA Finance Park, reaching 10,000 students yearly at Junior Achievement of Delaware, 522 Walnut St., Wilmington, DE 19801
Member of Swedish Parliament
enjoys special tour of colonial sites
By Deb Hofmann
Mr. Fredrik Eriksson, a member of the Swedish Parliament, found the New Sweden Centre website early this year and called Aleasa Hogate to arrange a tour. Mr. Eriksson was travelling from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. and thought he’d like to see the city that grew from the little New Sweden colony. Arrangements were made for Aleasa to meet Mr. Eriksson at the train station and take him to the New Sweden Centre’s nook at the Junior Achievement Center where I was to meet them.
Our little nook is filled with historical information. As a visitor follows the footsteps of the 377-year timeline he or she can easily see how the Cabin to Capsule display portrays life in the colony of New Sweden and how influences of Swedes in the New World trace their contributions from the log cabin to a walk on the moon.
With beautifully detailed dioramas, portraits and easy to read plaques the story is compelling.
After this introduction to the mission of The New Sweden Centre, Aleasa took us across the Delaware River to the monument in Riverview Beach Park, in Pennsville, N.J. As she told of her efforts to have this monument erected I learned some new facts. Did you know that Aleasa travelled to the quarry in Maryland to choose the stone for the monument? Did you know there is hidden time capsule in the monument? Did you know the stone is set at an angle to the riverbank pointing the direction in which the earliest Swedish settlers had to row each Sunday as they crossed for church services at the church at Crane Hook on the western bank of the river. (Church attendance was required. Fines were levied if one did not attend services!)
Snow had begun to fall on our little party as we headed back to across the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It was well past time for lunch so we headed to Timothy’s on the Riverfront in Wilmington. Mr. Eriksson seemed genuinely interested in the history of shipbuilding on the Christina River, especially the World War II destroyer escorts and, of course, the Kalmar Nyckel.
After lunch we headed to Fort Christina where we walked down to see the 1938 monument and to view the remainder of The Rocks. – still snowing - (The Rocks of 1638 extended almost half-way into the river but as the years passed and larger boats and ships were built the protrusion was blasted back to allow passage down the Christina to the Delaware.)
Our last stop was at the Copeland Maritime Center at the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. A quick tour around the Main Deck room and a look at the model of the USS Segaugus (designed by John Erickson, a Swede), a walk through our rigging shop for a look at Leo, the ship's lion figurehead, and out to the ship herself. Though under cover for winter maintenance, she was still grand to behold!
Time was running short for Mr. Eriksson to return to the train station to continue his trip to Washington, D.C. With just a few minutes before he had to go I asked what he thought of the places he’d seen. He said he was very impressed with it all; in fact, he shared that on his way from Philadelphia he actually wondered what on earth he was thinking that he’d arranged to spend 4 hours in Wilmington! Then he confessed he’d learned some things he did not know about the little, short-lived Swedish Colony. He was amazed when I responded by telling him there is still so much we did not have time for: Old Swedes Church and graveyard, the Hendrickson House, and Old New Castle, all just a short distance from where we were sitting.
It was a really great feeling to know that we had greatly impressed this member-of-parliament with the New Sweden Centre’s thoroughness, enthusiasm and knowledge of Swedish history in the New World.
Settlers trunks now available
for education programs
Artifacts tell story of Swedes in the Delaware Valley
Enjoy this 3:45 video, which gives an overview of the New Sweden Centre activities and features our latest program, offering settlers trunk sponsorships as hands-on educational aids to teaching history. The trunks are packed tight with objects of telling importance to the history of New Sweden. Included are animal pelts, a variety of home wares from the log cabin days, trade goods and colonial toys. For more information, send us an email.
History timeline aimed at students
Paintings of significant figures in Swedish-American history by Ros Stallcup are part of the display now open at the Junior Achievement of Delaware headquarters at 522 South Walnut St., Wilmington. Click here for more photos and the full story on the display and its opening. The display was made possible in part by a grant from the Swedish Council of America.
New Sweden Centre
'Museum Without Walls'
Exhibits on display throughout region
2013 was a year of transition for the New Sweden Centre. While we
may no longer enjoy the use of our own space at the Kalmar Nyckel
Shipyard, we are making a smooth transition into a Museum Without Walls.
We have already established partnerships with several local museums.
• Our Captain Mannequin set is now located in the Bowers' Beach Maritime Museum in Bowers, Beach, DE.
• Our Swedish Lady and child, plus many of our kitchen items, are now located in the Hendrickson House in Wilmington, DE.
• Our Lenape Mannequin is now located at the Prehistoric Museum in Greenwich, NJ.
• Our "Explore New Sweden" panels are now located in the Swedesboro-Woolwich History Museum in Swedesboro, NJ.
• Our model of Fort Christina is now on display at the Redding City/County building, 800 N. French St., Willmington.
• We are also serving as the "Non Profit Brand" in JA Finance Park,
utilizing the Colony to Community panels as a temporary exhibit until we
can create a new, youth focused exhibit at the Junior Achievement
Center (JA) in Wilmington DE. This facility serves Salem County, NJ and
New Castle County, DE and reaches approximately 10,000 students yearly.
• Our Heritage figures are on display at the Claymont Stone School, Philadelphia Pike (Rt. 13) and Darley Road, Claymont, DE. 19703. 302-702-2021
• Our Cabin corner and fireplace, Black Anthony, and our educational materials are now available for loan.
• We are actively marketing the book, Africans in New Sweden by Abdullah R. Muhammad
• We have a nice collection of colonial tools, old but not period
historical, we would like to loan to another museum. We will have some
of the miniature Historical figures to loan out.
We are continuing to work with Old Swedes Foundation, the Delaware
Swedish Colonial Society and the New Sweden Alliance in the annual celebration of the landing of the
Swedes to be held at Fort Christina Park in Wilmington on April 17.
Anyone interested in assisting us please get in touch. 302-420-0464 or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to call Education
Director Aleasa Hogate at 856-678-5511
Colonists' Day 2012
Enjoy this five-minute video of the 2012 celebration and day's activities.
The hand of friendship extended at the ceremony celebrating the
374th Anniversary of
the landing of the Swedes and Finns at "The Rocks" in Fort Christina
Colonists' Day, April 14th, 2012. Bill Hutchinison, left, in the persona
of Peter Minuit, greets Dennis Cokerchief of the Lenape Indian Tribe
of Delaware, Inc.
375th Anniversary Conference presentations now online
Lu Ann De Cunzo of the University of Delaware talks about the struggles
the early settlers faced in the Delaware Valley in this online view.
Her presentation is one of many from the 375th New Sweden Anniversary
Conference now available here.
The conference was held Nov. 8-10 at the university. The above link
will bring up a web page listing the available talks with links to the
Peter Minuit, founder of New Sweden,
named to Junior Achievement Hall of Fame
The story of New Sweden
This seven-minute video quickly tells the story of the founding of New
Sweden. It is a condensed version of a 26-minute video that is available
in our web store for
anyone who would like to make it part of their education or interpretive program.
The story of Black Anthony
Click here to learn about Antoni Swart, the African who lived in New Sweden. This 10-page slide show is
a synopsis by Abdullah Muhammad of his recently published book: Africans in New Sweden, The Untold Story. The book is now available for order in our store. Click here for ordering information.
We're excited that we have a new brochure
of New Sweden sites throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and
Maryland. There’s a map to show the locations and contact details for
each location/organization are listed on the reverse side. Feel free to
print off your own copy!
One of our recent ventures was to support the current traveling exhibit
called “Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden” This display,
developed by the American Swedish Historical Museum, is now
available for your conference or special event highlighting local history.
Send us an an email for more information.
Circle of Friendship
Participants at the New Sweden Forum create a "Circle of
Friendship" around the New Sweden Heritage Monument. The tradition was
started when the Pennsivlle, N.J. monument was dedicated
June 6th, 2004. The ceremony honors the bond of friendship
formed by the Lenape and the Swedish settlers of the 17th century.
This year's forum was held June 6, marking the 5th
Anniversary of the monument.