Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, Leiden
(3.8/5 based on 55 reviews on the web)
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 Wednesday 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Don't bother...The brochure in the hotel said they were open on Wednesdays. I went there-- no, not open until Thursday. I returned on Thursday..knocked, rang bell, no answer. Went away, came back, rep...  more »
  • This museum is small... like two 15x15 rooms small. BUT everything in them is period appropriate. As you stand in these rooms you get to really step back and feel what it would be like to live in Leid...  more »
  • It's easy to overlook this tiny museum, which is actually a two room old Leiden apartment, but you really shouldn't. It's full of interesting artifacts and more importantly - stories. Those are told w...  more »
Google
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Authentic place with the history all around you; restored and decorated with dedication.