The Gunn Memorial Museum on 5 Wykeham Road in Washington Connecticut is exploring its’ European roots with a new exhibit that runs through January 12, 2014 called Coming to America: Washington’s Swedish Immigrants. This exhibition shares the little-known story of Swedish immigration to this small New England town.
Known for their superior agricultural skills, 1.3 million Swedes immigrated to America during the 19th and 20th centuries, escaping conscription, famine, and poverty. Washington, Connecticut became one of their new homes, where many found employment as laborers and servants on local farms and estates owned by wealthy New Yorkers.
Beginning in 1870, over one hundred Swedish families settled in Washington and built two churches across the street from each other. One, the Salem Covenant Church, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Swedes made up 22% of Washington’s population in 1910, and many of their descendants still reside in town today. This exhibit tells their story.
The Gunn Museum is located at 5 Wykeham Road, at the intersection of Wykeham Road and Rt. 47, on Washington Green. The Museum is open to the public Thursday through Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday from 12pm-4pm. Call the Museum at 860-868-7756 or view http://www.gunnlibrary.org for more information.