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  • Iceland Room Table, 2016
    Nov 07, 2016

Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light

Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light Exhibition Opens November 12 at the American Swedish Institute

These ASI Exhibitions run November 12–January 8:  Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light (the popular decorated holiday rooms); the Aurora Borealis Series–Photographs by Jim Brandenburg; and the Royal Copenhagen/Bing & Grøndahl Christmas Plates

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Nordic Holidays: Celebrations of Light at the American Swedish Institute is an exhibition on display November 12, 2016–January 8, 2017 that annually showcases Nordic and other holiday traditions through decorated rooms in the historic Turnblad Mansion. The rooms are designed by groups from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway to reflect their own distinctive customs. This year, as part of Celebrations of Light, the ASI has partnered with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas for a space to honor Hanukkah.  In addition to this and other special exhibitions, the ASI offers an array of family friendly programs and activities with extended holiday hours. For a complete schedule and more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.  The ASI is located at 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

In addition to the holiday rooms, there are other seasonal exhibitions on display November 12–January 8. The Aurora Borealis Series–Photographs by Jim Brandenburg features striking images taken by Minnesotan Jim Brandenburg, who worked for National Geographic for more than three decades (on loan from the Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, MN).  The Royal Copenhagen / Bing & Grøndahl Christmas Plates of hand-painted porcelain feature a new winter design every year and the ASI displays the entire collection from 1895 to 2016. These collectibles are from The Bing & Grøndahl Porcelain Factory, founded in 1853 in Copenhagen (donated by Mary Jane Thompson). The ASI Family Gallery: Celebrating Light in the City is always open during Museum hours.

Holiday Event Highlights Register online at or call (612) 871-4907.

ASI Family Day: Celebrations of Light

Sunday, Nov. 13, Noon - 5 p.m.

ASI opens the 2016-17 holiday season with Family Day featuring a first look at the holiday rooms, visits by clever tomte and handcraft (slöjd) activities for the whole family. Included with museum admission.

Lantern Lit Holiday Glögg Tours

6:30 – 8 p.m.: Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, Saturday, Dec. 3, Sunday, Dec. 11, Friday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. Celebrate light during this series of Lantern Lit Holiday Glögg tours exploring decorated rooms in the historic Turnblad Mansion that reflect the seasonal traditions of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland with special guests from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The tours include glögg, a warm, mulled wine,  and seasonal appetizers from FIKA. $50 ASI members / $55 non-members. 21+

Julglädje “Christmas Joy” Family Performances
Saturday, November 26, Noon & 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 27, 1 p.m.

Julglädje is ASI’s annual “Christmas joy” join-in performances that are filled with songs, stories and smiles for families and kids. It’s a rollicking good time led by congenial host/musician Ross Sutter with Marya Hart on piano, Cheryl Paschke on nyckelharpa and fiddle, and Rose Arrowsmith-DeCoux leading kids to become part of a joyful musical tale.

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.  

Julglädje marks the start of ASI’s Making Traditions weekend series of family music and handcraft that continues December 3-4, 11 and 18. Generously supported by Mike and Barb Nelson.

Julmarknad: ASI’s Christmas Market and Festival

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4, Noon – 5 p.m.

JULMARKNAD, ASI’s popular Christmas Market, is a family friendly festival of shopping, performances, and food. The pop-up handcraft market features nearly 40 local artists 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 Turnblad Mansion. Make slöjd (handcraft) projects and watch for tomte and Santa! Sample FIKA’s delectable holiday menu, sip glögg and don’t miss the Bake Sale.

$12 adults  / $5 ages 6-18 / FREE for ASI members, children 5 and under. Museum admission included.

Neighborhood Holiday Open House—FREE ASI ADMISSION

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 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.

Kids at the Castle

All are scheduled for 9 – 10 a.m. 

Friday, Nov. 18, Let’s Talk Turkey; Friday, Dec. 9, Lucia’s Legend; Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17, Tiny Tomtar & Extraordinary Elves It's primetime playtime for kids and their grown-ups at the castle who take over the ASI for creative and fun learning activities including visual games, storytelling, music and movement. Suggested for ages 2–5. $8 per family. Registration not required; adults must attend with their children.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 5 – 8 p.m.

Mark the moment when the earth’s tilt makes our shortest day and longest night of the year with bonfires  in the ASI winter courtyard, 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 late. Included with museum admission.

Turnblad Mansion Public Tours

Daily, Tuesdays – Sundays, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 2016 – Jan. 8, 2017

Learn about the fascinating Turnblad family, the architecture of their castle, the history of the American Swedish Institute, and immigrant life in early Minneapolis. Included with museum admission.

ASI Holiday Rooms — Public Tours

Daily, Tuesdays – Sundays, noon Nov. 15, 2016 – Jan. 8, 2017

Experience one of Minneapolis’ most talked about holiday destinations – ASI’s 2016-17 Holiday Rooms, a celebratory exploration of the Nordic holiday traditions and customs practiced in homes across Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and a room by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas to honor Hanukkah. This year’s theme is Celebrations of Light. Included with museum admission.

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.


From November 15 – January 8


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

*From December 1-31: Thursday and Friday extended 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 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.

*From December 1-31: Thursday and Friday extended – 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


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

*From December 1-31: Thursday and Friday extended  – 8:30 a.m. – 8 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, museum, and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  For more information visit or call 612-871-4907.


Support is also provided by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Karin L. Larson, and ASI contributing members and donors.  

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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