What was life like for early Swedish immigrants in Minnesota? What did they bring with them from across the ocean? What did they leave behind? What awaited them at their destination? Learn how these early families lived, worked, and played back in Minnesota’s frontier days on your visit to the Gammelgården Museum in Scandia.
Gammelgården means “old small farm,” and this museum is the only such open-air facility in the United States devoted to Swedish immigration. Its preserved and restored buildings date back to the 1850s, when Minnesota’s first Swedes settled in the area.
On your visit to Gammelgården, you can:
– Hear stories of the families who lived in the Immigrant Hus and the Pråst Hus, the oldest existing parsonage in Minnesota.
– Get a close look at the tools stored in the barn, and listen to farmers’ stories in the Ladugård.
– Attend a service in the GammelKyrkan, the oldest Lutheran church building in Minnesota.
Gammelgården’s calendar includes several special events, which are held on the museum’s green, shady, and well-kept grounds:
– During the Immigrant for a Day event in May, you may find yourself hauling water, making butter, doing laundry, or playing games as you step into the shoes of a recent immigrant making a new life on a small farm.
– Celebrate the long days of summer with traditional Swedish music and dances as the Majstång is raised on Midsommar Dag in June.
– Spelmånstamma, or the “Gathering of Fiddlers,” is held in August. It celebrates a long tradition of fiddlers gathering, playing tunes, and teaching each other new music.
Gammelgården also offers Swedish language classes, sausage-making classes, and coffees and teas where Swedish specialties are served. The year winds down with a traditional Meatballs and Lutfisk Dinner, and finally Lucia Dagen, bringing light to the dark days of December.
The Scandia Butik offers a selection of gifts, including fine Scandinavian imported food and gifts, sweaters, linens, books, and cards.
Museum open daily, Monday-Saturday from 10am to 4pm, Sundays from 1pm to 4pm.
For more information or to book your group tour, contact the Gammelgården Museum at 651-433-5054, or visit them online at www.gammelgardenmuseum.org.