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April 2016, Vasa Star

April newsletter

Hello Vasa Members,

Spring has finally arrived in Bishop Hill. The shops, museums, and restaurants in town have opened for their summer hours and visitors arrive in increasing numbers. We celebrated Spring Jubilee on April 2 with an Opening Reception for the new exhibits. The exhibits received praise from all our visitors. Considering we held the reception later in the day and had 45-60 mph winds all day, we had a great turn-out. We posted pictures of the exhibit opening on Facebook at VASA Archives, Bishop Hill. We have eight more events planned this season and expect continued success this summer.

With the office space and the main collection areas straightened, we turn our focus to the collections stored in the basement and the attic. The basement storage area has not been organized and there is no listing of what is down there. We are proceeding with a box-by-box survey of what is held there and looking for any water damage, mold or other problems. The results will be added to our database facilitating retrieval of requested items.

The next big project will be removing items from the attic. Attics, barns, storage buildings, and other areas are common places to put items. Most of these areas generally lack climate controls and insect monitors. Fortunately, the attic on the archives has screens covering the windows so there probably won’t be much of an insect problem. Our concern is the potential for mold on collections, which is easily removed and taken care of.

As with the basement storage, we will be continuing a box-by-box survey, inventory and treating any problems that we find. These collections will be moved to the basement which is climate controlled and frequently monitored. Our goal is to spend at least one day a week working on these projects so that we can also get our administrative work done. We now have a volunteer helping us on Tuesdays and you are more than welcomed to join us.

Last week, I went to the Jubileum Lodge #755’s Spring Jubilee meeting in Madison, WI. We provided a brief talk about Bishop Hill and the Vasa National Archives. The Jubileum lodge was a wonderful host and felt very welcoming. If you would like for me to provide a talk to your lodge, let me know. I can travel to you or perhaps come up with something online.

Our next events are Valborg and Weiner Roast coming up on April 29 at 6 pm. We have received word that the Scandinavian Club at Augustana College will be joining us. The neighborhood has been adding to the bonfire and we will have a good-sized brush pile to burn this year

On June 7th, the archives will be hosting Swedish musicians, Hans Wilhelm and Birgitta. The time has yet to be announced, but we will let you know as soon as we find out. They will be performing traditional and modern Swedish music. We’re hoping for nice weather so they can perform outside. If the weather is disagreeable, the performance will be held in the basement. They have four other venues selected in the Chicago area and in Chesterton, Indiana. Contact James Nelson at for more information. Their websites are and

On June 18th, we will host a Midsomar Respite all-day during the Midsomar Music Festival. The music festival will be in the Bishop Hill park and the fika will be a block away in the archives. We will be offering a tea and cookies fika and a make-and-take clay sculpture station for children.

If you have any questions about the collections or the archives, feel free to contact me at or at 309-927-3898.

In Truth and Unity,

Kathy Cuff, CA

Vasa Archivist

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