Monday, 6 August 2018

Museums of History, Glassware and Emigration

(Road Trip 2018, Part 5)

On Tuesday morning (17th July), after having checked out from the hotel, but before leaving Växjö, we visited Smålands Museum, The Swedish Glass Museum and The House of Emigrants – all situated in the same park.


Smålands Museum

Established in 1867, Smålands museum is Sweden’s oldest county museum. Its permanent exhibitions include objects and historical items from the Stone Age and onwards. The museum also displays temporary exhibitions.

2018-07-17-1 SmålandsMuseum

▲Old buildings in the museum park.
▼Sceneries and objects from inside the museum


Shoemaker’s workshop


Old bicycle with a steering wheel


Old luggage trunks, often called “American trunks” here, because of so many people emigrating to America in the 1800s and early 1900s.


Church organ built in 1690 by organ- and keyboard instrument maker Hans Heinrich Cahman Cahman, Stockholm (c. 1640-1699)


The Swedish Glass Museum

The Swedish Glass Museum has been collecting glass and documents from Swedish glassworks for over 80 years, making up one of the largest and most extensive collections in Europe. Today, the collection includes around 40,000 items of glassware, from 105 Swedish glassworks, dating from the 1580s up to the present day. The Swedish Glass Museum also runs research and documentation programs concerning glass and glass handling.


Looking down from above into the gift shop.


Ulrica Hydman Vallien (24 March 1938 – 21 March 2018) was a Swedish artist who specialized in stained glass and decorative painting. In Sweden, she became best known for her vases with motifs of sinuous snakes, tulips and wolves. She was married to Bertil Vallien, who made the altar-screen in Växjö Cathedral (see my previous post). There was a special exhibition of her works just now, as she died earlier this year:





(There will be more glass art in future posts as we also visited four glassworks on our trip.)

The House of Emigrants


The House of Emigrants (built in 1968) includes an archive, library, museum, and research center on the Emigration period as well as the current Immigration in Sweden.

2018-07-17-1 Utvandrarnas Hus

The House of Emigrants also features a reconstruction of the author Vilhelm Moberg’s study, with his authentic furniture and other belongings.

2018-07-17-1 Mobergs3

Moberg is best known for his Emigrants series. The individual titles of the four novels are: Utvandrarna (The Emigrants), Invandrarna (The Immigrants), Nybyggarna (The Settlers) and Sista brevet till Sverige (The Last Letter to Sweden). They have all been translated into English, and are generally considered to be among the best pieces of Swedish literature. They were also made into two films by Jan Troell back in the early 1970s (starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman). In the 1990s, the musical Kristina från Duvemåla* by former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson also became a great success, both in Sweden and abroad. *(Later on the same day of our trip, we also visited the real Duvemåla.)

The main characters of the novels, Karl-Oskar and Kristina (emigrating from Småland to Minnesota), have kind of become national symbols in Sweden for the whole period of emigration to North America back between the mid 1800s and into the early 1900s. I think that in our time (with lots of immigrants coming to Europe rather than emigrants leaving), we do need to be reminded every now and then, that it’s really only been a century or so since the situation was reversed…

Utvandrare anländer till Göteborg

Postcard of a painting from 1872 showing “emigrants arriving at Göteborg/Gothenburg” (to take a ship from there to America)

(Coincidence: Just after I got home from our trip, Swedish Television started sending reruns of the 1970s Emigrants films as TV-series… So I’ve been watching!)

Our World Tuesday


  1. You really covered a lot of ground! Is that building a really old windmill, that is what they used to look like? The glass is all beautiful, and the organ is almost unrecognizable! It must be a real treasure.

    1. Not being out and about all that often, I try to make the most of it when I am, Ginny! :) There are different types of windmill - you only have compare the one in this post to the one in my header (which has been up for a good while now) to see they are not quite the same. And we saw plenty more windmills when we got to the island of Öland - as will you, when I get there in my blogging! ;)

  2. Lovely shots! Love the old buildings.

  3. What an amazing trip! I love the history in all of your photos and that bike! I can't say I've ever seen one with an actual steering wheel. Thanks for sharing your trip!

    1. I've never seen a bike like that before either, Saimi

  4. Three museums in one day - that is a lot to take in, and I am sure it was not easy to decide on what to include in your post.
    I'd not heard of the author of the "immigrants" books before, but it sounds like something I should read.
    Glass is an intriguing material to be turned into so many different objects and works of art. I am looking forward to seeing more of that.

    1. And that was only before noon, Meike! (lol) ...

      Moberg's books are certainly worth reading. Perhaps you could find them at the library in German. (They are also available for Kindle in English, but not very cheap - just checked.) I read my grandparents' copies in Swedish back in my early teens - and have those in my own bookcase now.

  5. you already know I have a passion for glass, and these are wonderful. can't wait to see the other glassworks. I love the one with the clear glass next to pink glass, just in case you buy those for me I can send you my email. He he he..... the collage of the red barn is so beautiful. love that double decker hay barn building. never seen one like it. your trip was PERFECT with Per...

  6. Interestingly on UK Amazon most of the second-hand books are available from US sellers and I notice that the publisher is Minnesota Historical Society Press. Your point about the reversal of immigration/emigration seems totally lost on many people.

    1. Graham, I can well imagine that Moberg's books would be of special interest in Minnesota, as that is where he had his fictional family go. As for the immigration/emigration, I really think we would do well to remind ourselves (and the younger generations!) about that more often.


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