Citizen Service Request Center
County Departments
Cumberland County Purchasing Portal
Sign up for Email Notifications

This Museum Is Closed.

New Sweden Farmstead Museum
Mayor Aitken Dr.
Bridgeton, NJ
Open mid-May through Labor Day
Open for tours 12 months a year by prior arrangement.

History

In 1638, only 18 years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, a company of Swedes and Ethnic Finns, under the impetus of Dutch political and commercial interests, set sail from the land of their Viking ancestors to found a colony in the New World. Their ships were called the Kalmar Nyckel and the F├ągel Grip; their route: across the North Atlantic, south along the New Jersey Coast, then into the Delaware Bay and up the Delaware River to Wilmington. At a site near present day Salem, New Jersey, they erected a fort, "Old Fort Elfsborg," as well as settlements on both sides of the river. These settlers came well before the great wave of Swedish immigrants of the 19th century.

The fort, a threat to Dutch shipping interests in New York, did not last long, but the settlements and the Scandinavian influence has endured over the years. Today, linguists theorize that certain speech patterns in Southern New Jersey, which differ from the rest of the State, are traceable to the mixed and changing Swedish-English vocabulary.

Evidence of the 17th century Scandinavian culture is also found in certain structures which, miraculously, still survive - a well preserved granary located near-by in Greenwich and a log home in Mauricetown are most likely the oldest non-Spanish structures on the North American continent built by Europeans.

Scandinavian culture started in the Delaware Valley, but did not remain there. It traveled with the pioneers westward and colored all of American History. For example, the log cabin is a Scandinavian concept and so is the "Dunham Boat" that carried George Washington across the river to defeat the Hessians at the battle of Trenton.

The New Sweden Company, Inc.'s major project was the construction of an exact reproduction of a 17th century farmstead of the type built by the early Swedish Finnish colonists. A technical assistance team from Sweden supervised construction to assure authenticity of the structures, fireplaces, chimneys, and the furnace for the blacksmith shop. Seven log structures were completed in Historic Bridgeton's 1,100 acre city park to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement in America. The buildings, site, furnishings and activities interpreting the development and life of these early settlers is authentic in accordance with historical research.

The New Sweden Company

While the New Sweden Project was originated in 1982 as an effort of the Scandinavian American Heritage Foundation, the Working Group, in December 1983, organized the New Sweden Company, Inc. to carry forward the project. This was conceived as a successor to the original New Sweden Company organized in 1637 by Peter Minuit and colleagues under the aegis of King Gustavus Adolphus to establish a colony in the New World. The year 1988 marked the 350th Anniversary of the New Sweden Colony in America. On April 14, 1988 their majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia formally opened the Farmstead Museum, which is the primary project of the New Sweden Company to date.

With the completion of the Farmstead Museum efforts are now being directed to develop NSC, Inc. into a recognized ethnic educational institution. NSC, Inc. is establishing itself as an educator and provider of historical data and cultural information relating to the Scandinavian influence in the development of the United States.

The log structures are exact replicas, the furnishings and farm equipment are genuinely of Swedish-Finnish origin. The buildings include a blacksmith shop, storehouse, threshing barn, stable, a residence with an addition, a barn with an outhouse, a sauna and a smokehouse. Many of these buildings contain authentic collections of artifacts on permanent loan to the New Sweden Company through the generosity of the Swedish people.