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Swedish American Museum Blends Contemporary Swedish Culture With An American Flare

By Elisha Neubauer

Located in the heart of Andersonville, Illinois, the Swedish American Museum has been providing a glimpse into Swedish heritage to the most traditionally Swedish area of Chicago for over 40 years. Andersonville has long been known for its Swedish roots, boasting an active tourist population looking to purchase Swedish foods, gifts, and partake in Swedish holidays.

Today, the 24,000-square-foot cultural museum draws its own crowd. It includes a gallery with special art exhibits, "The Dream of America" exhibit, the Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration, a library, a genealogy center and a Museum Store. The entire facility is wheelchair accessible.

The goal of the Museum was to impart an appreciation of contemporary Swedish-American culture in both adults and children, while continuing a focus on the heritage of Swedish immigrants in the US.

"Preserving our different cultures create a more colorful and diverse society," Angelica Farzaneh-Far, Communications Manager for the Museum, said. "The Swedish American Museum is a place where people can learn about the story of immigration no matter what country their ancestors came from."

Farzaneh-Far also believes that the original immigrants still have a lot in common with those immigrating to the US today, making it all the more important for the community's youth to understand the struggles and complications faced by people who embark on immigrating to a new country.

Each year, the museum holds an annual benefit event to support the Swedish American Museum's operations and its ability to continue on as a significant cultural and educational institution. This gala has been a successful event since its inception over 30 years ago.

"The gala is a celebration of the museum, its community and friends, and their generosity," Farzaneh-Far said. "The gala is fashioned in a way that people renew their engagement to the museum each year."

According to Farzaneh-Far, the Swedes have a history rich with music and dance.

"This is most obvious during our gala where dancing is a highlight," she said.

In addition to showing their love for dance and music, the museum focuses on the youth of the community. Multiple cultural events are tailored specifically for children, giving parents a chance to introduce their children to a culture they perhaps grew up in but left behind. These events aren't just limited to children of Swedish decent, either.

"I believe that children who get to experience other cultures at a young age will be more welcoming, tolerant and open to new experiences," Farzaneh-Far said.

To ensure everyone is able to experience the cultural riches available at the Swedish American Museum, entrance fees are exceptionally affordable. Adults are $4.00; children and seniors are $3.00. A family rate of $10 is available. Children under the age of one and members of the museum are always free. Admission is free to everyone on the second Tuesday of every month.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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