This site is not updated on a regular basis. 12/23/19


The Sons and Daughters of the Colony of New Sweden (New Sweden Historical Society) and Maine’s Swedish Colony, Inc. have merged under the New Sweden Histroical Society name.


New Sweden
Historical Society



116 Station Road

PO Box 33
New Sweden, ME, 04762


Carolyn Hildebrand nshs@maineswedishcolony.info


Download Membership Form

Historical Society



280 Main Street
Stockholm, ME 04783

Sandra Hara


Historical Society

1149 New Sweden Rd.
Woodland, ME 04736



Folklife Heritage


The Psalmodikon

As a field researcher curious about traditional arts I enjoy being surprised often by what I find in the field. I especially enjoyed the unexpected surprise of seeing a Swedish psalmodikon for the first time at the New Sweden Museum.

The psalmodikon in made from a single string mounted on a wooden resonator box and can be plucked or bowed. The one on display at the museum is roughly 40 inches long and has markings indicating finger positions. It most closely resembles a dulcimer, but with only one string.



It was used widely in the Swedish and Norwegian churches in the early nineteenth century. Many rural churches at this time were poor and could not afford organs or other instruments. And there was the problem of not having musical training even if there were instruments. As singing began to gradually fade from the church services, many pastors became concerned. ( Thanks to Mabel Todd, New Sweden Museum curator, for directing me to Ardith K. Melloh's article "Grandfather's Songbook; Or, The Psalmodikon in America" from the Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly.  October 1981.)

In 1828, Swedish pastor Johannes Dillner offered a solution in the psalmodikon (actually an ancient Greek instrument; the word meaning "that pertaining to the song"). It became immensely popular because it was inexpensive, easy to learn, and most of all, it succeeded in encouraging congregations to sing more.



Report on Discovery Research Fieldwork in the Swedish Colony by Matthew Shippee Contractor, Maine Arts Commission, Traditional Arts Division June, 2001. (413) 628-0159 mshippee@fiam.net. This report was funded in part by a grant from The Maine Arts Commission, the New Century Community Program, and the National Endowment of the Arts, a federal agency. The New Century Community Program is a collaborative initiative of seven cultural organizations providing matching grants and technical assistance to Maine communities. Funded by the people of Maine, the program seeks to assist towns in developing their cultural and educational resources

Privacy Policy-We do not share contact information. Site comments, correcctions, and questions? No change is too small – email the official web guy: Bill Duncan, Bill@WilliamLDuncan.com ©2019 Site hosting courtesy of WilliamLDuncan.com. This site was originally developed with assistance of a Discovery Research grant from the Maine Arts Commission, the New Century Fund of the Maine Community Foundation and the historical societies of the Maine Swedish Colony.

Note, Dec 2019. This site is not updated on a regular basis. See individual historical society pages on Facebook for the latest.--Bill