Thursday, April 24, 2014

American Swedish Historical Museum: Do You Know Pippi Longstocking?


It is very difficult to find someone who has never heard of Pippi Longstocking.  Between the books, television series, and movies, most people seem to be at least vaguely familiar with the unique redhead who lives with her pet monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and Horse in Villa Villekulla.  Pippi has long drawn readers and audiences of all different ages and walks of life.  Making her entrance to the literary scene in 1945, at a time when people were looking for a world beyond war, she personified various attributes that most people strive for: courage, strength, and, most importantly, independence.  The books were unlike anything that had been published before in children's literature.  Even though they were written with child audiences in mind, Pippi Longstocking resonated with adults as well.
The American Swedish Historical Museum has captured perfectly the draw this character has on both children and adults with their original exhibit, Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? running until February 16th (FREE with admission!).  Visitors enter a fun and fascinating world where creativity and curiosity are encouraged.  From the dress-up area to the reading corner, free play is the theme of the exhibit.  Experience being strong enough to lift Pippi's horse, explore the kitchen of Villa Villakulla, cut out cookies from batter spread out on the floor, and go Thing-Finding in a drawer-filled dresser!  This exhibit is unbelievably fun for all ages. It makes children believe they can be grownups and grownups believe they can be children.
Try to not get so immersed in the Dutkig kitchen toys that you miss the history of Pippi Longstocking and the biography of her creator, Astrid Lindgreen, along the walls.  A fascinating character herself, there are a great number of similarities between Pippi and Astrid - from their adventurous spirit to their immense creativity.  Learning more about the person behind Pippi gives a better understanding as to what makes her so special.  Both Astrid and Pippi challenge people to ask why things are the way that they are.  They come into contact with everyday Tommy and Annika's like ourselves and make us strive to be different - to be better.  Astrid's personal story is rich and colorful and should not be overlooked while you are getting to know Pippi Longstocking better.
And just when you think you have seen and done everything in the exhibit, grab a map and head off into the rest of this amazing museum to hunt for Pippi's treasure.  In each of the ten galleries be on the lookout for a small wooden box.  Collect a card from each box (taking care to follow the directions on each to enhance the experience in each gallery), and turn them in at the front desk to collect a fun prize.
If you thought that the American Swedish Historical Museum was a wonderful place to visit before, Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? makes it an absolute must-see in the Philadelphia area this year.  Adults and children alike will be enchanted by this fantastic exhibit - we know we were!

1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA
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  1. How fun! I didn't know this museum existed!

  2. Oh this looks awesome! I didn't really grow up with Pippi but I'm intrigued.

  3. my youngest loved Pippi years ago, I might have to go see this!

  4. Oh I LOVED Pippi! What a cool exhibit!

  5. In the most recent email I got as an Ikea family club member, it says that from now through next February you can get buy one get one free general admission tickets if you show your Ikea family club card. I guess Ikea must have sponsored part of the new Pipi exhibit.