The Swedish American Museum is your passport to teaching about immigration, Chicago history, or Swedish culture in new, exciting ways! Guided tours and activities are available to all groups ages PreK through high school. Our most popular school tour explores the 19th century immigration experience through an interactive, imaginative tour of our Children’s Museum. For children in PreK through first grade, this tour is accompanied by a craft and activity related to Swedish culture or immigration, and for students in 2nd grade and up, it includes a guided tour of our regular exhibit that focuses on push and pull factors, ship travel and Ellis Island, the Homestead Act, Chicago immigration history, and Swedish American culture. We are happy to discuss tailoring our tour to the educational needs of your class. Self-guided tours of the Swedish American Museum are also available but must be scheduled through the education department.
Please note that as of February 2022, our Children’s Museum is fully open but our Dream of America exhibit (typically included in tours for 2nd graders and up) is currently closed for renovations until fall 2023. In lieu of the regular exhibit, we offer a smaller version of the exhibit with many of the same artifacts, combined with relevant activities and tours of our interactive Children’s Museum.
Gallery Tours for School Groups
Our Museum features rotating art exhibits in our main gallery, and we offer tours of our gallery exhibits accompanied by supporting educational activities. The appropriate age group for the tours depends on the exhibit. Our current exhibit is Arctic Highways and is most appropriate for students at the middle school or high school level. This exhibit discusses the exploitation of Indigenous land and how imposed borders of nation-states have erased the natural land borders used by Indigenous peoples. Nine Sami artists and three Indigenous artists from Canada and the United States want to use this exhibit to start a dialogue, raise questions, and establish waypoints between their culture and ours. This exhibit takes us on a journey through an Arctic highway of culture and life, stretching from the past into the future.
Costs, Group Size and Scheduling
Cost is $3 per students; chaperones and teachers are free if within the desired ratio (typically 1 chaperone for every five students for younger grades, 1 for every 10 students for older grades). Some tailored workshops may require an additional fee.
We can accommodate groups of up to 50 students, although ideal group size is currently 25-30 students. We offer flexibility in the tour length, with programs for groups of 20 or more generally lasting 2 hours.
School tours can be scheduled Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., with occasional Monday availability.
To request a school tour or to discuss tailoring a tour to your students, please contact our Education Manager, Jack Rogalla, at firstname.lastname@example.org; give us a call at 773-728-8111; or fill out the contact form below.
Please take a moment to review our field trip rules and guidelines.
Educator guides containing further information and enrichment activities are also available. Please contact Jack if you want a copy.