Located in Chicago's Swedish cultural center Andersonville, the Swedish American Museum is the “cultural center for the education, celebration and interpretation of Swedish American history and culture in Chicago, Illinois” (“About”). The museum serves to honor and celebrate Swedish culture, history, customs, traditions, and the Swedish immigrant experience.
Home to over 12,000 artifacts, the museum has a special exhibits gallery that hosts 4 exhibits a year as well as a permanent exhibit entitled “The Dream of America-Swedish Immigration to Chicago” that is updated annually; the exhibit is about immigration to Chicago at the end of the 1800s and features artifacts, immigrant experiences, and immigrant perspectives. The 24,000 square foot museum hosts events, language classes, programs, and field trips, as well as the Brunk Children's Museum and the Nordic Family Genealogy Center.
Kurt Mathiasson, a Swedish immigrant, opened the
Swedish American Museum in 1976 inside a small log cabin. Wanting to preserve
Swedish culture in America, Mathiasson displayed family histories within the
museum. In 1987, the museum moved to its
current location and was visited by the King of Sweden. The museum underwent a major renovation in
1997 to house a new gallery and the Nordiska Museet exhibit. In 2000-2001, the museum opened its permanent
exhibits and the Children’s museum.