Saturday, May 17, 2008

Swedish Emigrant Institute threatened

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Even though my desk is stacked high with notes and flyers to share as a result of my attendance at the 2008 NGS Conference that closes today, I find this information about the possible absorption of the Swedish Emigrant Institute into local museum facility of urgent importance to readers.

From: Anna-Karin Schander
Here in Växjö, the Swedish Emigrant Institute (the museum and archive of Swedish emigration) is threatened as an independent institution. The politicians want it to merge with the local county museum.

I have written about it in my podcast blog Swedish Emigrant Institute in danger of merger. If you want to mention it in your blog or podcast and among other genealogists I would be grateful. Many Swedish-Americans have found their Roots through it. Here is what I wrote in my blog:

During the work with my next podcast episode the information have researched me [concerning] the "Swedish Emigrant institute" here in Växö the museum and
research institution about the Swedish emigration to USA and other parts of the
world. It is in danger of being forced to merge with The Smålands Museum "(our
local county museum). It would probably BE THE END OF THE Swedish Emigrant
Institute as an independent museum and research institute and the museum's
exhibitions would be in danger of closing or be substantially reduced.

The research department would also be in danger closing and with that the possibility for people with Swedish ancestors to write or visit it and with the
help of its material to find out where their Swedish ancestors came from.The
Swedish Emigrant Institute has extensive collections of

  • microfilmed church records
  • microfilmed newspapers
  • microfilmed society archives
  • collections of individual emigrants letters back to Sweden
  • library with books about Swedish emigration to other parts of the world.

In my podcast of 25 January 2008 I had an interview with the Swedish Emigrant
Institute's librarian Yngve Turesson, please listen to it if you want. The Swedish emigrant Institute has suffered from some turbulence in later years as well as economical problems and the politicians in Växjö want to merge it with the local county museum and have taken away all economic backing to both the museums until they agree to the merge.Both museums are well worth looking at and while I think that a cooperation between them would be a good idea, I think that a total merger could be disastrous for the Swedish Emigrant Institute's future."

Here is the URL of the Swedish Emigrant institutes webpage in English

On the Swedish language version of the website its current head has written about the present situation (unfortunately they have not put up the text on the English version).

The website of the Smålands Museum is here

There is a petition to the politicians (Bo Frank and Kristina Alsén) against the merge here are some instructions on how to sign as an approximate translation of the petition.

Go to the following URL
then you will see Swedish text that I have roughly translated below:

To Bo Frank, Kristina Alsér
Shall the Swedish Emigrant Institute (SEI) be incorporated in a local historical Center under a [agreement] with the Museum of Småland common head and board of directors?

The consequence for the Swedish Emigrant Institute would be that it would
abdicate its role as a national and international research institute and it would become [absorbed by] The Museum of Småland which goes against its statutes
and against the ideas of The Swedish Emigrant Institute founder Gunnar Helén and against four decades of successful work on both sides of the Atlantic.

What reactions would this create on the Swedish level, on the Swedish-American level, among researchers and in Knut and Alice Wallenberg's foundation which have during the years donated 20 million Swedish kronor to the Swedish Emigrant Institute and motivated its generosity with the Swedish Emigrant Institutes national and international role?

The Institute since its foundation in 1968 has drawn more than one million visitors to the House of Emigrants (the building where the Swedish Emigrant Institute resides) and according to guidebooks in English is of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Växjö. Let the Swedish-emigrant Institute remain as an independent unit.

Instead of subjecting it to budget cuts let it expand.
With kind regards

NOTE: Under it you will see the word "undertecknade" if you click that you will see those who have signed the petition thus far.

Somewhere further below the petions text you will see the following text:
"Skriv på listan" it means sign the petition

If you click there you will come to a page that says:
"emigrantinstitutet, Ny underskrift" it means the emigrant Institute new signer

Under that you will see the word "förnamn" that means first name
"Efternamn" means last name "
E-postadress" means e-mail address
"Postort" means where you live and
"kommentat" means comment

When you have typed your name and completed the online form, click on the button marked "Spara" which means save.

You would then receive a confirmation e-mail called something like "bekräftelse av tillage på namninsamling"

It will say something like:
Hej (your name) = Hello (your name) Klicka på länken nedan för att aktivera din inskrivning = click on the link below to activate your signature

Then follows the link you should click to activate your signature

Then follows Med vänlig hällsning = with kind regards = which is the name of the site that managed the petition

If you want to sign the petition I hope you will be able to follow my instructions.

It isn't always possible for an outsider like me to understand the implications when a research center is absorbed under the direction of a local museum. It would seem that the goals of both organizations would call for cooperation as your email indicated.

However, there are instances where combining of two entities means the watering down of the goals of one or both original organizations. Most often we see this with hostile corporate take-overs in business.

I do take umbrage that politicians would withhold funding from both the research institute and the museum to effectively force the merger. This seems overhanded, though my interpretation is likely clouded by my lack of experience with Swedish laws governing the two politicians you've mentioned, since I was born and raised in the US.

On a personal level, I do relate to this problem as a family historian. It is most desirable to do research where the staff is wholly dedicated to genealogical and historical research. The thought that funding for the proposed combined facility would not exclusively support research is upsetting. Certainly it is important for museums to receive funding for preservation of artifacts, but the experts employed by museums have different skill sets than those employed at research facilities.

It is the responsibility of local, regional and national governments to preserve documents that remain historical evidence of a people. It isn't for one generation to judge what records are noteworthy, since it is impossible to evaluate without constraints of the current mindset. And then there is something about the importance of studying history or we're doomed to repeat it.

As governments face budget shortfalls, attempts are made to fill the gap between income and expenses. However, the voice of the people should prevail in the allocation of funding.

Based on my past experience with you and the items I've mentioned above, I've decided to sign the petition in support of the preservation of the research facility.

Ol' Myrt here has followed your instructions and signed the petition. In a matter of seconds I received the confirmation email from "NAMNINSAMLING .com" and clicked to confirm my participation in the petition. You will now see my entry under my real name Pat Richley of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thank-you Anna for all you do to help preserve the culture and history of Swedish ancestors. I love your podcasts as they reflect your respect for our Swedish roots. I know some of my readers would initially be skeptical about signing an online petition with so much Swedish text -- thank-you for your translation. i marvel at your grasp of two languages.

Your efforts to get the word out about the possible closure of The Swedish Research Institute is much appreciated.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment