Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Leiden

3.9
#8 of 12 in Museums in Leiden
The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum is a small museum in the Dutch city of Leiden dedicated to the Pilgrim Fathers (or simply Pilgrims). These Separatists or English Dissenters were religious refugees who had fled England to Amsterdam in 1608 and moved to Leiden the next year. They lived and worked in that city for about 12 to 20 years. In 1620, their emigration began. They left Leiden by canal, going to Delfshaven where they embarked on the "Speedwell," which took them to Southampton. But the "Speedwell" proved leaky and had to be sold, so they transferred to the Mayflower. The "Mayflower" undertook the famous voyage to New England in 1620 alone. In the 19th century the colonists' first harvest festival after their arrival at Plymouth Colony was identified as the origin of the annual Thanksgiving celebration in the United States.The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum is housed in a building dating to about 1365-1370. The house is located at Beschuitsteeg 9, next to the bell tower of the Hooglandse Kerk church. The museum is operated by the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum Foundation and is open to the public Thursday through Saturday (1 to 5 p.m.).The museum presents extensive information about Pilgrim life in Leiden, together with the history of the medieval house itself. In the museum, a collection of furniture, books, and other material from Pilgrim times illuminates the lives of these people in England, Leiden, and New England. The museum illustrates its Pilgrim narrative with a collection of 16th- and 17th-century maps and engravings by Gerard Mercator, Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, and others.
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Leiden American Pilgrim Museum Reviews
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3.9
TripAdvisor
  • This is a small museum, just one room from Pilgrim times plus another room covering an older period. But the amount of information and interesting artifacts was quite large. As we were in the exhibit ...  more »
  • If you're interested in antiques, the pilgrims, 17th century life, the Reformation, fun stories about great deals, this is a place for you. However, you must ask questions. Other than a few mentions, ...  more »
  • From first glance this museum is fascinating, the giant totem outside to the visiting display of Japanese Fun gaming, I wish we had more time to browse. The display of Budda was calming and beautiful....  more »
Google
  • Incredible, intimate, surreal access to centuries old documents and objects- it's as magical as stepping back in time. The marvelous antiques shop next door is also well worth a visit. The owner and the historian are both extremely pleasant and knowledgeable.
  • I visited at my sister's request to support her ancestry work. The "museum" had little of interest for an American, but is more oriented to explaining the pilgrim's way of life to the Dutch.
  • Fabulous small, private museum run by a local foundation. Definitely worth a visit to see and hear about the history of the house and pilgrims in Leiden. Each visit is different depending upon visitors' interests and questions. I encourage you to ask many questions of Jeremy, the historian/archivist who conducts the 'tours' in the original bottom story of the 14th century house and the one adjoining. The more you question the more wonderful is the visit! I've visited with friends 5 times over the past year in Leiden. Each visit is different - there is no "rote patter" like other places! The foundation has saved the house and is collecting a marvellous array of artefacts and goods used in daily and religious life from the pilgrim era and earlier, even back to Romans with the most fabulous, compete, pot I've ever seen! And these precious articles are available to see and, sometimes, to touch carefully in a small house sitting - not a 'fusty' or sterile museum cabinet. I'm not religious, not American or connected to pilgrim history in any way, but am very interested in preserving history and cultural heritage. The Leiden Pilgrim Museum and efforts by the foundation are a lesson in independent cultural heritage management by citizens and people of goodwill. A highlight of Leiden!
  • Didn't open on the days I was there
  • Very small museum. Popular with American tourists for obvious reasons, but well worth a visit for locals and other tourists too. The super old building that houses the museum is already worth it.

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Where to stay in Leiden

A relatively small city with a big student population, Leiden caters to both long- and short-stay visitors making their plans on a limited budget. The historical city center remains the most expensive area, offering rooms in charming old buildings turned into elegant hotels. Just a short walk from this area you can choose from inexpensive lodgings in family-run inns, where cozy rooms come with private parking and free Wi-Fi. For added mobility without the extra cost, look for guesthouses that offer free bikes for use around the city.
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