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  • Handmade Holidays exhibit
    Oct 23, 2018

ASI's "Handmade Holidays" Exhibition Opens November 10!

Handmade Holidays, American Swedish Institute’s Nordic Holiday Exhibition, Opens November 10, 2018

Visit Handmade Holidays,  ASI’s popular exhibition of Nordic holiday rooms inspired by a year-long exploration of The Handmade, with related performances, workshops, tours and family events.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Handmade Holidays, the American Swedish Institute’s (ASI) 2018-19 exhibition of decorated holiday rooms showcasing Nordic and other holiday customs, transforms the historic Turnblad Mansion from November 10, 2018 to January 13, 2019. Inspired by ASI’s year of The Handmade, groups from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and our Czech American guests have designed the rooms to reflect each country’s distinctive handmade and other festive traditions. ASI is renowned as one of the Midwest’s most popular holiday destinations, offering an array of family friendly programs, a weekend Christmas market, performances, workshops, tours and events. In addition to Handmade Holidays, two new exhibitions will also open on November 10: Tom's Christmas Fish in ASI’s Family Gallery and Handpicked: Recent Acquisitions. For a complete schedule, details and tickets, visit or call 612-871-4907. ASI is located at 2600 Park Ave., Mpls., MN.

Among ASI’s many holiday event highlights is Family Day on November 10, which opens the new exhibitions, kicks off the season’s programs and launches the Jul Shop with a three-day member appreciation weekend and additional discounts. Julglädje (Christmas Joy) performances on November 24–25 are interactive musical stories for families. The Julmarknad Christmas Market, our biggest weekend of the season on December 1–2, showcases more than 40 artisans selling handcrafted work, combined with Mansion performances and FIKA’s festival food and bake sale. The popular Glögg Tours, with mulled wine and light bites, run December into January.  For Nordic dining experiences, try the Lutfisk Dinner on November 17 and the Julbord Feasts on December 15-16.

New Exhibitions:

Handmade Holidays

November 10, 2018 – January 13, 2019

Inspired by ASI’s year-long theme of The Handmade, the 2018-19 Handmade Holidays exhibition and decorated rooms will focus on artisans and handcraft ranging from traditional to contemporary, from the five Nordic countries, our invited Czech Republic guests and Minnesota makers. The Sweden Christmas room displays many objects created by hand – wood, textiles and ceramic – including a specially commissioned work in a tree shape with nearly 200 pieces of hand-blown glass produced at the Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts. The Denmark room focuses on Danish handcrafts from beaded snowflakes to cross-stitch hangings and runners. The room features vintage Danish modern furniture from Danish Teak Classics. The Finland room highlights contemporary and elegant functional objects in wood, textiles and glass. The Norway room includes samples of straw ornaments, woodcarving and decorative Rosemåling. The Iceland room honors the country’s ceramic, glass, silver and Icelandic wool art forms. The Czech room celebrates handmade objects reflecting traditional design and 21st-century Czech American identity.

In honor of Lucia’s legend, ASI commissioned a new Lucia crown which ASI’s “Lucia” will wear during December concerts.  ASI also asked seven artists to craft interpretations of the Lucia crown, symbolizing light overcoming darkness. Cecelia Schiller will work with wood, Faith Clover with wire, Allen Christian with metal, Sonja Peterson with paper, Karen Searle with textiles, Laurie Jacobi in wool and Chris Eberhardt with glass. Out in the ASI Courtyard, will be a larger-than-life Lucia statue created by Allen Christian of House of Balls.

ASI Family Gallery: Tom's Christmas Fish
November 10, 2018 – January 13, 2019

New in the ASI’s imaginative and interactive Family Gallery, is a seasonal exhibition inspired by Tom’s Christmas Fish, a children’s book by Swedish mother and daughter duo, author Rita Törnqvist-Verschuur and illustrator Marit Törnqvist. Children and their important adults can play and pretend to be a baker, fishmonger or artist in a Christmas market booth. The Family Gallery is sponsored by IKEA.

Handpicked: Recent Acquisitions
November 10, 2018 – January 13, 2019

Discover something unexpected. ASI has more than 7,000 objects in its collection. This new exhibition showcases recently acquired objects handpicked by ASI staff and volunteers, that range from paintings and woodcarvings to glass and textiles, and the fascinating stories behind them.

Holiday Event Highlights

ASI Family Day: Handmade Holidays

Saturday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

ASI opens the 2018-19 festive season and its Handmade Holidays exhibition with a day of fun for the entire family. Get a first look at the Mansion’s decorated holiday rooms inspired by ASI’s theme of The Handmade, and discover related Nordic American and Czech American traditions. Enjoy musical performances, watch for clever tomte and join in family crafts. Included with museum admission.

ASI’s Lutfisk Dinner

Sunday, Nov. 18, 1 p.m. (reservations must be made by November 12)

Love or hate it, the star of ASI’s annual Lutfisk Dinner is a fish dish that should be experienced at least once. There are plenty of side dishes and Swedish meatballs to round out the meal. $35 ASI members / $40 non-members / $15 kids ages 6-11.

Kids at the Castle and Preschool Programs

Friday–Saturday, Nov. 16–17, 9 –10 a.m.: Kids at the Castle - Let’s Talk Turkey, 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7 and Thursday, Dec. 13; Lucia’s Legend Preschool Program, learn about the legend of Lucia through stories, crafts and activities; Friday–Saturday, Dec. 21–22, 9 – 10 a.m.: Kids at the Castle - Tiny Tomtes & Extraordinary Elves. ASI’s Youth and Family programs offer fun learning activities and playtime for kids of various ages and their grown-ups. Vist for more information and program pricing.

Glögg Tours

7– 8:30 p.m.:  Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, Thursday, Dec. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Please register five days in advance of a tour date.

Join ASI for these fun and exclusive after-hours tours of the decorated rooms in the Handmade Holidays exhibition, complete with warm, spiced glögg and FIKA's lite-bites. Discover holiday customs from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our Czech American guests. $50 ASI members / $55 non-members. For ages 21+

Julglädje “Christmas Joy” Family Performances
Saturday, November 24, Noon and 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 25, 1 p.m.

Julglädje, ASI’s annual “Christmas Joy” join-in performances, are led by congenial musician Ross Sutter with Marya Hart on piano and Cheryl Paschke on nyckelharpa and fiddle. Rose Arrowsmith-DeCoux invites kids to become part of the joyful musical tale. Tickets: $10 ASI members, $12 non-members; $5 ages 6-17, FREE children 0-5. Museum admission must be purchased separately. Tickets may also be available day of show. Julglädje marks the start of ASI’s Making Traditions weekend series of family music and handcraft that continues December 1-2, 9, 16 and 23. Generously supported by Mike and Barb Nelson.

Julmarknad: ASI’s Christmas Market

Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Julmarknad, ASI’s popular Christmas Market and our most lively weekend of the season, is a family friendly festival of shopping, performances and food, with more than 40 local and regional artist vendors offering distinctive jewelry, glass, clothing, wood, ceramics and other unique items for gift seekers, along with goods from ASI’s own Museum Store and Jul Shop. Enjoy Nordic music, dance and storytelling throughout the Mansion. Make family craft projects and watch for tomte and Santa! Pick up cardamom bread and cookies from FIKA’s Bake Sale and eat from the European market-style menu which includes our famed Swedish meatballs, open-faced sandwiches, glögg and hot cider, plus a cash bar. $12 adults, $8 seniors, $6 children ages 6-18, FREE for ASI members, children 5 and under.

2018 Julmarknad Artist Vendors:

Addington Company, AnnMade in Minnesota, Aqua Nabina, Beth Homa-Style, Bodylish, Briggs and Craft, Cameron Quie Wood Carving, Carl’s Fine Woodworking and Carpentry, Catherine Schoenherr, Cecilia Schiller, Celina Kane, Clay Bay Pottery, Darah Lundberg Ceramics, Decadence By Hand, Dottir, Fieldwork Goods, Folkdress Fantasy, Front Avenue Pottery & Tile Co., Hallin.Designs, hand2mouthcrafts, Handbound Minnesota, Homesteading Bliss, Ilrid Vikings, Kilns Of Flanders, Kim Losse/Donna Millard Pottery, Lakestone Jewelry, Laurie Jacobi Original Designs in Wool, Marcia Almquist - The Little Red Trunk, Nordic Goods, OakLeafleather, Peder Hegland Pottery, Penwarden Designs, River Oaks Studio, Rubinski Works, Scandia Kicksled, Silvercocoon, Simply Elegant Glass Art, Steller Handcrafted Goods, STITCHESbycarin, Studio Tupla, T & C Latane, The Apron Lady, Top Knot Stitching, Turtle Ridge, Two Pine Hill Trading Post, Väva! Veve!, Women’s Woodshop and Woodspirit HANDCRAFT.

Lucia Celebration Concerts
Saturday, Dec. 8: Attend either the 11 a.m. morning concert or the 1 p.m. afternoon concert.

ASI’s youthful Lucia Choir celebrates the light during the long winter with two special concerts of Swedish traditional music set in Larson Hall. $15 ASI members / $20 non-members (general admission). Tickets go on sale November 4 and sell out quickly at or at (612) 871-4907. Museum admission included.

Nordic Table & Nordic Craft Workshops — Highlights (See for complete schedule)

  • Nordic TableLussekatter Family Baking
    Sunday, December 9, 2 – 4 p.m.

Just in time to celebrate Lucia Day on December 13, this workshop with Anna Sharratt teaches techniques for making lussekatter, or saffron buns. It’s a wonderful opportunity to add a new baking tradition to the family holiday season. Ages 6 and up welcome (2 per adult). ASI members $45 / non-members $55 / $15 per child

  • Nordic Craft Workshop: Make Your Own Glass Tomte
    Saturday, December 8, 9 – 11 a.m.

Learn glass fusing and casting to fill a pyramid shaped mold and make your own tomte (a small Swedish, Santa-like figure with a white beard) which will be fired by glass artist Susan Tracy and ready to pick up one week later. $45 ASI members / $55 non-members. Plus $15 materials fee payable to the instructor. Taking a class together is a great gift experience.

  • Nordic Craft Workshop: Fun with Tin
    Sunday, December 9, 1 – 4 p.m.

Tinsmith Kitty Latané teaches cutting, shaping and finishing tin items such as star ornaments, cookie cutters and old-fashioned tinsel for your Christmas tree. Suitable for ages 14 and up. $55 ASI members / $65 non-members. Plus $15 materials fee payable to the instructor.

  • Nordic Table Workshop – Swedish Meatballs
    Wednesday, Dec. 19, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. No dish is more evocative of Swedish jul than the humble meatball. Join Patrice Johnson for an evening of köttbullar (prepared two ways) with pickled cucumbers, potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberries. ASI members $45 / non-members $55.

ASI Neighborhood Open House – Free ASI Admission

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 5 – 8 p.m.

Be our guest at ASI’s annual Neighborhood Open House with FREE museum admission, performances, bonfires and hands-on holiday crafts to thank our neighbors and supporters. Visit for the first time or celebrate the season by introducing the Mansion to new friends. Just show up! No need to register.

Julbord A Swedish Christmas Feast
Saturday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 16, 1 p.m. Register by December 7.

The Julbord, or Christmas smorgasbord, is a Scandinavian feast delivering a full selection of traditional dishes such as Swedish meatballs, herring, many sides and desserts prepared by the talented FIKA chefs and ASI’s Slate and Stone Catering. Cash bar. $65 ASI members / $75 non-members. $25 ages 6–11 and free for children 5 and under (must still register). Reservations are non-refundable. Includes museum admission. Saturday’s diners may view the Handmade Holidays exhibition from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Friday, Dec. 21, 5 – 9 p.m.

Mark the powerful juncture when the earth’s tilt creates the shortest day and longest night of the year. During ASI extended hours, celebrate with bonfires and kick sleds in the courtyard, performances, self-guided tours of the Turnblad Mansion's holiday rooms, and more. FIKA Café will serve a special menu with small plates and warm glögg. The Museum Store and Jul Shop will be open late for your last-minute gift needs. Included with museum admission. Purchase at the door, no advance tickets available.


Private Group Tours — ASI’s Handmade Holidays Exhibition

Contact ASI at 612-871-4907 or to schedule.

Looking for a special way to celebrate the season with friends, family or work colleagues? Book a private tour to experience one of the Midwest’s most talked about holiday destinations – ASI’s Handmade Holidays exhibition, an exploration of the Nordic holiday traditions inspired by our year of The Handmade as practiced in homes across Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our Czech American community guests.

The Jul Shop at the American Swedish Institute Museum Store is open November 9, 2018, through January 13, 2019. Member Appreciation weekend is Friday–Sunday, Nov. 9–11 with tiered discounts. Members can save up to 20% on purchases! The seasonal Jul Shop is an added retail space next to the Store which takes over Osher Gallery. Stock up on all your Nordic holiday needs. Pick from a wide selection of imported Swedish and Nordic glassware, one-of-a-kind holiday decorations, chocolates, textiles, candles and more. ASI members always save 10% on purchases.

Museum Admission: $12 adults, $8 seniors ages 62 +, $6 ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and children ages 5 and under.

2018-19 ASI HOURS


Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday Noon – 5 p.m. 

The ASI, FIKA and the Store are all closed Monday.


Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Full menu is served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Full menu is served 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Full menu is served 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Please note: during Julmarknad on December 1-2, FIKA’s hours coincide with the festival hours.


Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday noon – 5 p.m.

THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE (ASI) is a museum and cultural center that is a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  The ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota  55418.  The Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.” For more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.


Handmade Holidays is supported by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Mike and Barb Nelson, U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management and ASI’s members and donors.  ASI’s Hotel Partner is the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot.

Minnesota artist activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.

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