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Swedish American Museum

57 Reviews
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Swedish American Museum

57 Reviews
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5211 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640-2101
Getting there
BerwynChicago L10 min
ArgyleChicago L11 min
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Taylor B wrote a review Oct 2020
Chicago, Illinois6,569 contributions5,324 helpful votes
One of the great advantages of living in Chicago is the access to many museums and cultural centers devoted to the history and heritage of minorities and ethnic groups which afford the opportunity to learn how other peoples live and lived. One such museum is the Swedish American Museum, which is devoted to Swedish American topics and the Swedish immigration to the United States. Located at 5211 North Clark Street in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, it was founded in 1976 and moved to its current location in 1987. It is said there are more Swedes in Andersonville than anywhere outside of Stockholm. The museum, which was dedicated by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden himself, is a three-story building with 24,000 square feet of exhibit space. The collection of 12,000 objects includes items and artifacts that contribute to the narrative about Swedish immigration, Swedish communities in North America and Swedish and Swedish American culture. Artifacts include archival material, photographs, textiles, domestic items, decorative and fine art. The gallery spaces feature special art exhibits, "The Dream of America" exhibit, the Brank Children's Museum of Immigration, a geneology center and a museum store. One of the most unique and interesting exhibits is the Swedish Dads, a photo exhibit by Swedish photographer Johan Barman that portrays the relatively small percentage of Swedish fathers who choose to stay at home with their children for art least six months. Another up-to-the-minute exhibit reports that during the recent Covid 19 pandemic, museum officials have discovered that many residents of the Swedish American community have found leisure time to do family research at SAM's geneology center.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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JulieinChicago wrote a review Sep 2020
3 contributions3 helpful votes
I visited the museum with my family for a holiday celebration and had an odd experience. An older lady started pretty much yelling at the guests. She seemed out of control. It turns out she was the head of the museum and just went off the deep end when some kids started playing. It was extremely uncomfortable. We did out best to cover her behavior so the kids would not be scared. It seems like a place to avoid.
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Date of experience: December 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Jason E wrote a review Oct 2019
DeKalb, Illinois29 contributions3 helpful votes
It is a small museum packed with both sides of the history. The first floor is a gift shop and the reminders of the old pre-world war 2 puppet theater. Very cool. The second floor is the heritage and genealogy center. Mega cool. Didn’t go to the third floor. But that is the children’s museum. Sounds cool. Be sure to look at their website for free days for entry. But it doesn’t cost much to begin with. And yes some of the museum involves the results of the Great Chicago Fire. Highly friendly staff. And please leave donations as that is how museums like this survive.
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Date of experience: October 2019
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NANCANVA wrote a review Jun 2019
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA266 contributions126 helpful votes
This museum is small, but incredibly interesting if you enjoy exploring the immigrant experience in a large city. Swedish immigrants (including my own) settled in the Clark Street area of Chicago. Many of the artifacts are similar to those my family has. The museum is very inexpensive ($4.00 adults) and is worth an hour or two. They also have a wonderful gift shop filled with items from Sweden, about Sweden, etc. Most of the staff is of Scandanavian heritage, too, so Swedish is spoken. If you have Scandanavian relatives you can relate to what they offer. The entire North Clark Street area still has a few businesses that are Swedish bases (restaurants, bakery). Great safe area with a terrific friendly vibe.
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Date of experience: June 2019
2 Helpful votes
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bLiselotte wrote a review Jun 2019
Palatine, Illinois598 contributions165 helpful votes
I visited during a small event so the visit was free. The museum portion is on the second floor. It encompasses the immigration path, and some background on famous Chicago Swedes. The first floor has an exhibit space/meeting room and the gift shop. I spent a pleasant hour here. A plus is its in a great neighborhood of restaurants.
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Date of experience: May 2019
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