Annual Gala

Saturday, Nov. 4, 6 p.m.
at the Swedish American Museum

The Swedish American Museum’s annual fundraising event is a night of fun and celebration of Swedish and Swedish-American heritage and culture. 

This years gala will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4, 6 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum. 

This year we are honoring Tamara Biggs, who has been making exhibitions for over 40 years, beginning in 1981 as a preparator at Chicago’s Field Museum. After five years as a project manager at Denver Museum of Nature and Science, she became director of exhibitions at Chicago History Museum, where she led an award-winning team for 22 years. Together they created nearly 100 exhibitions, four of them winners of the American Alliance of Museum’s Excellence in Exhibition award, one a winner of the Allan Bérubé Prize from the Committee on LGBT History, and one a winner of the Costume Society of America’s Richard Martin Exhibition Award, as well as five MUSE awards for exhibit media. She was a founder of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, a consortium of ethnic museums and cultural centers, and has served on the boards of National Association for Museum Exhibitions and the National Indo-American Museum.

Tamara has worked with the Museum since 2012 to envision, plan and implement an updated core exhibit on the second floor, beginning with an analysis of Dream of America and a successful grant to upgrade collections storage. In 2021, we received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create We Are America. The $500,000 project is half funded by IMLS and half fundraised by the Museum during our 40th Anniversary campaign in 2016 and 2017. Tamara has been with us throughout the process, and her guidance and knowledge have been instrumental every step of the way.

We are now in the middle of the update and anxiously await the grand opening of We Are America in late 2023 or early 2024.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Gold Sponsor

Matthew W. Herman and Steven T. Satek - Co-Chairs Aspire Gala 2023

Bronze Sponsor

Kenneth Norgan, Board of Trustees

Table Sponsor

Albert and Maria Goodman, Board of Trustees
Brian T. Johnson, Board of Directors
Ron and Loretta Peterson

Wine Sponsor

Bob and Mardee Gramen, Board of Trustees

Music Sponsor

The Weidemanis Family, Board of Directors

Evening Sponsor

Gunilla M. Goulding, Board of Directors
Russell and Catherine Holmquist, Board of Trustees
Law Offices A. E. Gustafsson, PC
Sky Bridge Resource Center

Dessert Sponsor

Kevin S. Williams, Board of Directors

Mix and Mingle Sponsor

Carolyn J. Aronson, Board of Directors
Great Lakes Clinical Trials

Beverage Sponsor

Matt R Olaveson, Board of Trustees
Adam G Vitale

Craft Cocktail Sponsor

Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates

There are many different levels of sponsorship. For more information use the link below.

To become a sponsor please click here.

Tickets for the Gala

This year’s gala aspires to provide a new experience to enliven the evening while maintain some of everyone perennial favorites.

Dining this year will be offered in two options.

New this year is a tasting menu, with individual culinary delights offered at various stations around the Museum. Local neighborhood restaurants (to be announced closer to the event) will present a featured item for you to savor while you bid on silent auction items, explore the Museum, and enjoy various entertainment throughout the experience.

The other option will be a traditional Swedish meal, served to guests seated in the main event space. The meal will be catered by Tre Kronor and celebrate the cultural heritage embraced by the Museum. Seated dinner guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the tasting menu as well prior to the dinner service in the main event space.

Both groups will come together for the presentation of the award \and share in the dessert options served in the main event space.

You choose the option that is best for you – but rest assured it will be a delicious and entertaining experience for all!

Dress Code - Black Tie Option. Valet Parking available.

We are almost at capacity. For information about tickets email

Silent Auction

The Silent Auction is online again this year 
Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. - Saturday, Nov. 4, 9:30 p.m.

The Silent Auction is Live - click below and start bidding.

To visit the silent auction click here.

The auction opened on Sunday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. and will close on Saturday, Nov. 4, 9:30 p.m.

You will also have an opportunity to learn the online bidding program and start placing your bids at the Museum. Please note that the Museum is closed on Mondays.