You don’t have to be Swedish to visit Chicago’s Swedish-American Museum! The Museum has something for everyone—an art gallery, immigration exhibit, children’s museum, genealogy center, and a gift shop featuring a beautiful selection of handcrafted Scandinavian gifts.
Established in 1976, the Swedish American Museum is a bustling center of Swedish art, history, and culture. A full program of exhibits, programs, and events keeps the building humming with activity seven days a week. The Museum is located in Andersonville, Chicago’s historically Swedish neighborhood, which is now a mosaic of multiethnic shops and restaurants.
The Museum’s main exhibit, The Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago, displays hundreds of artifacts, pictures, and descriptions of the mass immigration of Swedes to the Chicago area beginning in the late 1800s. Visitors learn about the struggles of these early immigrants and see how they forged new lives in their new land.
Youngsters will love the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, a hands-on, interactive journey through history for ages 3 to 12. Donning costumes, children churn butter, milk a cow, and gather eggs on the 19th century Swedish farm. Then they pack an immigrant’s trunk and board a steamer for the New World. On arriving in America, they move into a pioneer log cabin home and begin their life in the new country.
At the Nordic Family Genealogy Center, visitors can trace their roots and research their Swedish ancestry with the assistance of trained volunteers.
The Museum’s first-floor gallery features special exhibits of folk art, paintings, sculpture, textiles, and glassware created by contemporary Swedish and Swedish-American artists and craftsmen. Before leaving the Museum, visitors will want to stop in the Kerstin Andersson Museum Store where they’ll find linens, jewelry, kitchen utensils, glassware, and a wide selection of fiction, biographies, cookbooks, and children’s books and toys.