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  • Mansion in the winter
    Oct 16, 2017

Fest! Merry Mansion, American Swedish Institute’s Nordic Holidays Exhibition

Fest! Merry Mansion, American Swedish Institute’s Nordic Holidays Exhibition, Opens November 11, 2017


Mansion in the winter
Turnblad Mansion in the winter

Visit ASI’s Fest! Merry Mansion, our popular Nordic holiday rooms and the new Skål! Scandinavian Spirits exhibition. Take part in a full slate of performances, workshops, tours, shopping and events.  

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Fest! Merry Mansion, the American Swedish Institute’s anticipated annual exhibition of decorated holiday rooms showcasing Nordic and other holiday traditions, transforms the historic Turnblad Mansion November 11, 2017–January 7, 2018. Designed by groups from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, the rooms reflect each country’s distinctive, and sometimes unusual, customs. This year as part of the celebration, the American Swedish Institute (ASI) will honor Romanian holiday traditions in a community partnership with the Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans in Minnesota.  

Also on view is Skål! Scandinavian Spirits, a new nationally travelling exhibition produced by the Museum of Danish America, which explores the ‘spirited’ cultural drinking traditions shared by Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The ASI additionally offers an array of seasonally centered, family friendly programs, performances, workshops, tours and events. For a complete schedule and more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.  The ASI is located at 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Among the many holiday highlights to bring the Fest! alive is Family Day on November 11 which opens the new exhibitions and kicks off the season. Julglädje (Christmas Joy) performances on November 25–26 are interactive musical stories for families led by artist Ross Sutter. The Julmarknad Christmas Market, December 2–3, brings together more than 40 artisans to sell handcrafted work, with Mansion performances and festival food. The Make Merry: Spirited Glögg Tours, with warm toddies and festive bites, run November into January and are the perfect way to celebrate with friends and family. Twin Cities musical storytellers Impossible Salt return for community performances of Wise One, included as part of special days in museum admission, and ticketed shows with pre-show Mansion tours, cocktails and appetizers.  Continue reading for additional holiday highlights or visit

Holiday Event Highlights

ASI Family Day: Fest! Merry Mansion

Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

ASI opens the 2017-18 Fest! Nordic holiday season with Family Day, featuring a first look at the Mansion’s decorated holiday rooms and the Skål! Scandinavian Spirits exhibition, a theatre performance by Impossible Salt and visits by clever tomte and handcraft (slöjd) activities for the whole family. Included with museum admission.

Kids at the Castle

9 – 10 a.m.: Friday–Saturday, Nov. 17–18, Let’s Talk Turkey; Friday, Dec. 8, Lucia’s Legend; Friday–Saturday, Dec. 15–16, Tiny Tomtar & Extraordinary Elves. It's primetime playtime for kids and their grown-ups, who take over the castle, before it’s open to the general public, for creative and fun learning activities including crafts, games, music and storytelling related to the season. Suggested for ages 2–5. $8 per family. Registration not required; adults must attend with their children.

Make Merry: Spirited Glögg Tours

6:30 – 8 p.m.: Thursdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 14, Dec. 28, 2017 and Jan. 4, 2018. These popular walking tours of the “Merry Mansion’s” decorated holiday rooms from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our guests from Romania, celebrate the season with light bites from FIKA’s talented chefs and two crafted versions of warm, spiced glögg. $50 ASI members / $55 non-members. 21+ Limited to 26 registrants. Registration is required five days in advance

Julglädje “Christmas Joy” Family Performances
Saturday, November 25, Noon & 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 26, 1 p.m.

Julglädje is ASI’s annual “Christmas Joy” join-in performances 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. Julglädje marks the start of ASI’s Making Traditions weekend series of family music and handcraft that continues December 2-3, 10, 17 and 23. Generously supported by Mike and Barb Nelson. Tickets:  $5 ASI members, $6 non-members; $3 ages 6-17, FREE children 0-5. Museum admission must be purchased separately. Tickets may also be available day of show.  

Impossible Salt

Musical storytellers Impossible Salt return for Jul at ASI by popular demand to present Wise One. This new, irreverent and interactive theatre work, set in the Turnblad Mansion, explores the ancient roots of the season, inspired by the Norwegian folk tale "The Seventh Father of the House." Impossible Salt's wild, inimitable style blends drama, dance and games with beloved folk songs sung in their original language, as well as new music composed in collaboration with Minneapolis Music Company. Their 2015 production at ASI, The Stranger, was named one of MPR’s “12 Holiday Arts Must-Sees.”

Drop in for community shows in the Mansion Ballroom or attend exclusive ticketed performances in the Grand Hall that include a pre-show cocktail and appetizer party.

Impossible Salt –  Community Performances

  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 1 p.m., As part of Family Day
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. As part of Neighborhood Open House. Free Museum admission!
  • Thursday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. As part of Winter Solstice.

These events do not require advanced registration. Included in ASI Museum admission.

Impossible Salt – Exclusive Performances with Preshow Cocktail and Appetizer Party

  • Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m.

Held in the Mansion’s Grand Hall, these events include a pre-show cocktail and appetizer party from 6-7 p.m. and exploration of the holiday rooms. The theatre performances start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include one beverage and small bites. Please register online a week in advance.

Julmarknad: ASI’s Christmas Market

Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 3, Noon – 5 p.m.

Julmarknad, ASI’s popular Christmas Market, our liveliest weekend of the season, is a family friendly festival of shopping, performances and food, with more than 40 local artist vendors offering distinctive jewelry, glass, clothing, wood, ceramics and other unique items for gift seekers, alongside ASI’s own Museum Store and Jul Shop. Enjoy music, dance and storytelling throughout the Mansion. Make slöjd (handcraft) projects and watch for tomte and Santa! Order from FIKA’s delectable holiday menu, sip glögg and don’t miss the Bake Sale. $10 adults, $7 seniors, $5 children ages 6-18, FREE for ASI members, children 5 and under. Museum admission included.

Lucia Celebration Concerts
Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performances

The ASI’s youthful Lucia Choir celebrates the light during the long winter with two special concerts of Swedish traditional music set in Larson Hall. General admission / $15 per person. Tickets sell out quickly and go on sale on Sunday, Nov. 5 at or at (612) 871-4907. Museum admission is included. Free for ASI members. Registration is required. Tickets to the December 12 Lucia in the Mansion concert are only available to ASI members, and can be purchased in person or by phone.

ASI Neighborhood Open House – FREE ASI ADMISSION

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 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 supporters, introduce the Mansion to new friends and celebrate the holidays.  Just show up! No registration needed.

Nordic Table Workshops:

ASI welcomes back Richard Tellström, acclaimed Swedish food writer/scholar and Malmberg Fellow, for a month-long residency as visiting food historian. Tellström will lead a series of workshops and food-related talks. Supported by the Swedish Council of America.

  • Nordic Table – Scandinavian Rye Bread
    Tuesday, Nov. 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Join Tellström and Patrice Johnson, author and Nordic food geek, to learn about preparing traditional loaves and the role of bread in Nordic cuisine. ASI members $10 / non-members $15.
  • Nordic Table – Richard Tellström on Smörgåsbord and Snacks
    Tuesday, Nov. 28, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Richard Tellström shares Swedish traditions about starting a meal with a sandwich, or its variant, the sandwich cake, Swedish cookie customs, beverages in Swedish history, and the history of the smörgåsbord and Swedish fika. ASI members $10 / non-members $15.
  • Nordic Table – Richard Tellström on Folklore and Traditions in Swedish Food
    Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tellström shares food-related stories and folklore that may range from encounters with supernatural beings, to advice on how to build a house with respect to magic or meeting a future spouse by eating a special porridge. ASI members $10 / non-members $15.
  • Nordic Table Workshop –Swedish Meatballs
    Wednesday, Dec. 20, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. How did the meatball become the icon of Swedish dining? Patrice Johnson leads a workshop of participation/demonstration with a menu of traditional and modern Swedish meatballs, quick pickled cucumbers, potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberries. ASI members $45 / non-members $55.

Julbord — Swedish Holiday Feasts
Friday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. , Saturday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m.

The Scandinavian Julbord or Christmas smörgåsbord is one of ASI’s favorite traditions and a great way to celebrate with friends and family. This feast delivers a full selection of fabulous holiday delights including Christmas ham, Swedish meatballs, herring, many sides and desserts prepared by the talented FIKA chefs. Cash bar available.  $65 ASI members / $75 non-members. $25 ages 6–11 and free for children under 5. Reservations are required by Friday Dec. 8. Tables hold 8. Includes museum admission. Guests attending Friday or Saturday may view the holiday exhibition from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Thursday, Dec. 21, 5 – 9 p.m.

Mark the moment when the earth’s tilt creates the shortest day and longest night of the year. Celebrate with bonfires in the ASI winter courtyard, a theatre performance by Impossible Salt, family handcraft, self-guided tours of the Turnblad Mansion's holiday rooms and FIKA café serving festive bites and warm glögg. The ASI Museum Store and special Jul Shop will also be open. Included with museum admission.


Public Tours — Fest! Merry Mansion, ASI’s Holiday Rooms

November 14, 2017 – January 7, 2018, Tuesdays – Sundays, starting at noon.

Experience one of Minneapolis’ most talked about holiday destinations – ASI’s 2017-18 Holiday Rooms, a celebratory exploration of the Nordic holiday traditions practiced in homes across Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and a room by community guests from the Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans in Minnesota to honor Romanian customs. This year’s theme is Fest! Merry Mansion. Included with museum admission. General tours of the Turnblad Mansion are offered at 1:30.

The Jul Shop at the American Swedish Institute Museum Store is open November 11, 2017, through January 7, 2018. Member Appreciation weekend is Friday– Sunday, Nov. 10–12 with tiered discounts. Members may save up to 20% on purchases! This seasonal shop is an added Jul retail space which takes over the 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: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5 ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.

2017-18 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 service 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. (full menu service 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.)

Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (full menu service 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.)


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 vibrant arts and cultural organization located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of migration, the environment and the arts, informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  For more information visit or call 612-871-4907.


Support is also provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Mike and Barbara Nelson, Karin L. Larson, and ASI contributing members and donors.  

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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