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About the Museum

The Swedish American Museum is a nonprofit museum and cultural center for the education, celebration and interpretation of Swedish American history and culture in Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Mission Statement

Through its arts and educational programs and its permanent collection, the Swedish American Museum interprets the immigrant experience for children and adults and promotes an appreciation of contemporary Swedish-American culture.

Vision Statement

To be the preeminent Swedish-American immigration museum in the greater Chicago area and a unifying force within the Midwestern Scandinavian community.

Core Values

The Swedish American Museum:
• Celebrates Swedish culture, customs, and traditions
• Honors the Swedish immigration experience
• Recognizes contributions of volunteers and supporters
• Fosters collaboration with the broader community

History of the Museum


It was the dream of Kurt Mathiasson, one of the leaders of the Andersonville community and a Swedish immigrant, to preserve the Swedish-American heritage in Chicago. The first museum was a small storefront log cabin in which family histories were collected. During the U.S. Bicentennial Year, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, officially opened the Museum in its original location.


The Museum moved to its current location and underwent a Phase I renovation. The King of Sweden returned to celebrate the new beginnings of the Swedish American Museum Center.


The Museum completed its Phase ll renovation adding new gallery space and the donations of the Nordiska Museet exhibit to its permanent collection and display.

2000 – 2001

A grand staircase to the second floor permanent exhibit was completed, and the new Children’s Museum of Immigration for children ages 3-12 opened on the third floor.


A New Face in Andersonville” completed in May 2009. The renovation has been an exciting project, and it’s only the beginning as we transform the Museum into a more environmentally friendly, energy-efficient space. We have new insulated glass on the first floor storefront and entry; new vestibule (airlock) at the entry to reduce cold drafts into the Museum and the Kerstin Andersson Museum Store; new energy-efficient lighting in the lobby and gallery spaces.


The Museum acquired a dedicated parking lot on the corner of Foster and Ashland from Nelson Funeral Home in May. A permanent expansion to the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration highlighting space exploration opened in October.


The Museum’s iconic water tower tank painted to look like the Swedish flag was removed on March 20 after it was damaged by an extraordinarily harsh winter.


Due to the successful fundraising campaign and the outpouring of support from the community, plans are underway to erect a replica of the Andersonville Water Tower.


The Museum celebrates its 40th anniversary and the Brunk Children’s Museum celebrates 15 years.

The Museum Facilities

The Swedish American Museum is an active 40 year old cultural museum located in the heart of Andersonville, one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish culture in the United States, whose Swedish roots date back to the nineteenth century. The Museum is in a 24,000 square-foot building and has a gallery with special art exhibits, permanent exhibit “The Dream of America – Immigration to Chicago,” the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, library, genealogy center and Museum Store. All areas are wheelchair accessible. Limited complimentary off-street parking is available on a first-come basis at the corner of Ashland and Foster for Museum visitors and volunteers.

Annual Report

Here you can read about the life of the Museum in 2014: Annual Report




General Museum:

  • Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Children's Museum:

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

Museum Store:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


  • 5211 N. Clark St.
  • Chicago, IL 60640


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