1988 marked the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Sweden. As part of the celebratory events, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden visited Wilmington. On April 13, the royal couple was in attendance to officially open the Historical Society of Delaware’s exhibit, “Treasures of the Kronan” at Old Town Hall. King Carl addressed the crowd speaking of his personal interest in the Kronan recovery project and Queen Silvia cut the ribbons spanning the museum doors. Afterwards, curators took the king and queen on a private tour of the exhibit. King Carl and Queen Silvia then briefly stopped in at the library before heading to their next stop in Philadelphia.
The exhibit featured objects rescued from the Kronan, the flagship of the Swedish Admiral Lorentz Cruetz. In 1676, the ship went down in battle against Denmark off the coast of Oland, near Kalmar. Fully armed and carrying a crew of 842, the Kronan keeled over, blew up, and quickly sank. Only forty members of the crew escaped the explosion. For 300 years, the remains of the ship and all of its historical treasure remained at the bottom of the Baltic. In 1980, Swedish naval historian Anders Franzen discovered the wreck after more than thirty years of research. The following summer, marine archaeologists began to bring to the surface remarkable treasures from the Kronan.