Anchoring Andersonville, Chicago's historic Swedish neighborhood, on a vibrant portion of Clark Street, the Swedish American Museum celebrates the accomplishments of Swedes who came to America over the past several centuries and settled in Chicago. Andersonville itself is one of Chicago's great walking neighborhoods. Plan a trip today, and include the museum on your itinerary!

 

 

TWO MUSEUMS IN ONE

The museum is divided into two equally fascinating sections: the Swedish American Museum and the Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration, which is suitable for all ages.

 

The Swedish American Museum

Learn why so many Swedes departed the homeland for the United States through a narrative told in part through the ephemera they carried with them, including passports, steamer trunks, steamship tickets and folk objects. Along the way, visitors can also learn about the lives of three real-life immigrants, including Karl Karlson, who arrived in New York in 1893, and Stina Olofsdoftter, who helped her son move across the Atlantic in 1868. Learn more about current exhibits.

Of course, the museum also has a number of distinguished annual events, including their Midsommarfest, which happens over the first weekend in June. It is a celebration of the summer solstice, and it features elaborate dances, short plays and spirits.

In the depths of winter, one can make a pilgrimage to partake in the Julmarkand, which is their Christmas Bazaar. Santa Claus is there, naturally, along with folk dancers, processions and handicrafts that celebrate the season.

Hours of Operation
Monday–Friday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

 

The Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration

Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration

First-time visitors would do well to slip on over to the Children's Museum side, which was was the first  such immigration museum dedicated to children in the United States.

Visitors enter through the door frame of a Swedish farmhouse (or stuga), travel through the recreated interior of an immigrant steamship, and conclude at a log cabin. Along the way, the young and young at heart can spend time “harvesting” wooden vegetables and eggs, milking a cow (never fear, it's also a replica), and even getting to hang up laundry on the line with a clutch of old-fashioned clothespins.

Consider signing up for the "Famous Swedes" programs, which are intended for children and take place at 11 a.m. on the third Friday of every month from September to June. This craft and story time hour. Past Swedish-Americans of note who've been featured include Carl Sandburg and Charles Lindbergh. 

Hours of Operation
Monday–Thursday: 1 p.m.–4 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

 

 

DETAILS

Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60640

Admission: Adults $4; Children over 1, students, and seniors $3; Families $10. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month.

 

S is for Swedish American Museum is part of an ongoing series exploring Chicago from A to Z, highlighting a unique Chicago place and theme for each letter of the alphabet. Stay tuned for more entries, and learn more about Chicago's many museums.