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  • History Holidays - ASI
    Oct 08, 2019

Time Tested. Tradition Approved. Holidays at the American Swedish Institute

ASI’s popular exhibition of holiday rooms explores festive traditions over the years from the perspective of five Nordic countries and this year’s Celtic community guests. Tickets for food events, performances, workshops, tours and family activities are on sale now.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN Time Tested. Tradition Approved. Holidays at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) is an exhibition of richly decorated Nordic holiday rooms that steps back in time to transform the historic Turnblad Mansion from November 16, 2019 to January 12, 2020.  Encompassing eras from the 1920s into the future, guest curators representing Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and this year’s Irish American guests from Celtic Junction have designed installations reflecting each country’s distinctive holiday traditions during a specific time period. Time Tested. Tradition Approved is inspired by ASI’s 90th anniversary, marking the years since 1929, when Swan Turnblad donated the Mansion to what is now ASI. Since then, ASI has not only become one of the Midwest’s most popular holiday destinations, with an annual Christmas market and Lucia celebrations, but an acclaimed year-round destination known for its eclectic mix of events and performances, craft and food workshops, and family friendly activities, as well as the award-winning FIKA Café and ASI Museum Store. For more information and a complete schedule, visit or call 612-871-4907. ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.

Among ASI’s many holiday highlights is the December 7–8 Julmarknad Christmas Market and festival. This lively weekend showcases more than 55 artisans selling handcrafted items amidst two days of music, dance, storytelling, family crafts and food. The Julglädje (Christmas Joy) Performances on

November 30 and December 1, 27-28 are family friendly, interactive musical stories led by Ross Sutter.  Of particular note on November 10–11, is a special book celebration and performance featuring renowned artist/musicians Chan Poling and Lucy Michell showcasing their new illustrated book Jack & the Ghost.  ASI’s popular Glögg Tours, this year with the Theater of Public Policy, run November into January and are perfect gift experiences for family and friends. The December 20 Winter Solstice Celebration marks this pivotal junction. For Nordic dining, try the Julbord Feasts on December 21-22.  The ASI Museum Store also launches its Jul Shop November 15, with Member Appreciation weekend November15–17 offering additional discounts.

NEW ASI Exhibitions in 2019- 2020

To mark the 90th anniversary of its founding, American Swedish Institute in 2020 will offer a suite of local and international exhibitions, such as extra/ordinary opening in February, featuring illustration, paper, painting and photography exploring The Idea of Migration and the Migration of Ideas. How do ideas move as we move?

Time Tested. Tradition Approved.  Holidays at the American Swedish Institute

November 16, 2019 – January 12, 2020

Step back in time over 90 years and explore the stories and decorations of holiday traditions from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our Celtic Junction community guests.  With an ambiance drawing on holiday décor, music, sound and lighting as well as furniture, art, design, toys and food commonly associated with each era and country, each room offers informative and immersive experiences. Marking ASI’s 90th anniversary, visitors can discover bits of the past and visions of the future in the richly decorated rooms.  The journey begins with Sweden showcasing objects from the ASI collection appropriate to 1920s/30s, including the Turnblads’ dining set.  In 1929, founder Swan Turnblad donated the Mansion and many of the family’s personal belongings to what was then the American Institute for Swedish Art, Literature and Science.  Norway’s room offers a view of traditions from the 1940s/50s, based on their unique post-WWII perspective. Denmark, with its local and international impact on art and design, steps into the 1960s/70s with mid-century Danish furniture, lighting and art. Celtic Junction explores the 1980s/90s, with its shift of place, people and cultural expression. Iceland revisits the unfolding economic events in the 2000s/10s that transformed the country into the popular destination it is today.  Finland, with its strengths in contemporary visual art and design, takes on the future, unfolding a view of holidays to come.


February 29 – July 5, 2020

This interactive new exhibition developed by ASI goes beyond the ordinary to highlight untold stories behind objects from ASI’s collection which have never been publically displayed. Inspired by a book, A to Zäåö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute (University of Minnesota Press), the installation is an immersive experience populated by a group of curious characters who explore the Mansion, items within it and the stories behind them.  Elements of the exhibition are from the collaboration between a mother, Twin Cities watercolor artist Tara Sweeny, whose paintings of ASI objects are enlivened by unusual and playful ink characters drawn by her son, illustrator Nate Christopherson.


Chan Poling & Lucy Michell’s Jack & the Ghost, Performance & Book Celebration
Two performances: Sunday, November 10 & Monday, November 11, 6 – 8 p.m.

This hybrid reading, performance, Q & A and reception celebrates Chan Poling and Lucy Michell's illustrated book Jack & the Ghost (University of Minnesota Press), a new publication by the popular Twin Cities musician/artist/authors. Ticket with book and bag: $35 ASI members / $40 non-members / $20 child. Ticket only: $20 ASI members / $25 non-members / $10 child

Aquavit Week at ASI
Wednesday, November 13, 6 – 9 p.m.

Celebrate all things aquavit! Meet representatives and sample sips from favorite distilleries near and far. Try light bites and learn about the history of the “Water of Life” with a special talk by food historian Richard Tellström.
Arcus North America is the national sponsor. $50 ASI members / $55 non-members.  21+ event.

Richard Tellström — The Essence of Swedish Food Culture: An Overview from Viking Age to Today
Wednesday, November 13, 10 a.m.

Join us for a special daytime talk by Richard Tellström, Professor of Food History at Stockholm University.  Included in museum admission.

Richard Tellström — Lutfisk, Herring and Other Fish Traditions in Swedish Food Culture
Saturday, November 16, 11 a.m.

Join Swedish food scholar and historian Richard Tellström to prepare for your ASI Lutfisk Dinner or to learn more about traditions related to old and new versions of fish in Swedish culture. $10 members / $15 non-members

Lutfisk Dinner
Saturday, November 16, doors at
12:30 p.m. meal served at 1 p.m.

ASI’s annual Lutfisk Dinner is a culinary experience that is a must-do, at least once, on many bucket lists. In addition to the main fish dish, there are plenty of sides including Swedish meatballs. $35 ASI members / $40 non-members / $15 children ages 6-11 / free for children 5 and under. Only a limited number of tickets are still available.

Glögg Tours — Led by the Theater of Public Policy
Thursdays, November 21, December 5, 12, 19 and January 9; 7–8:30 p.m. Enjoy the gift of a shared experience with friends, family or colleagues when you join ASI for fun, after-hours glögg tours led by actors from the Theater of Public Policy showcasing the holiday exhibition Time Tested. Tradition Approved. Take a step back in time to explore traditions from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our guests from the Celtic Community. Partake of glögg (mulled wine), curated cocktails and specialty lite-bites inspired by the different eras and countries.  $50 ASI members / $55 non-members. 21+.  30 participants per tour. Please register at least five days in advance of a tour date.

NEW - Julmarknad Preview Party!
Friday, December 6, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Get a first look and the first chance to shop the incredible wares in ASI’s artisan Julmarknad market and meet the handcraft artists during ASI’s NEW Julmarknad Preview Party!  Enjoy a glass of glögg and appetizers from Fika Café, tour ASI’s holiday exhibition Time Tested. Tradition Approved, and talk to the teams who designed the rooms.

$75 per person. Includes a drink, appetizers, admission to the exhibition and the handcraft market.

Julmarknad:  ASI’s Christmas Market and Festival

Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sunday, December 8, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Julmarknad is ASI’s popular and family friendly Christmas market and festival with shopping, performances, crafts and food. As the centerpiece of our liveliest holiday weekend, the market features handmade items for sale by more than 55 talented local and regional artists, including distinctive jewelry, glass, clothing, wood, ceramics and other unique items for gift seekers. ASI’s own Museum Store and Jul Shop also offer exceptional items. Visitors can wander through the holiday exhibition in the Mansion and enjoy Nordic music, dance and storytelling, family crafts and other pop-up activities. FIKA will host a bake sale and serve festival food on both days, with a cash bar and beverages including glögg and hot cider: $15 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children ages 6-18, FREE for ASI members, children 5 and under. Julmarknad includes admission to the museum.

2019 Julmarknad Artist Vendors:

Addington Company,  AnnMade in Minnesota, Aqua Nabina, Ascension Art, äventyr, B E Nelson Design, Becca Cerra LLC, Becky Utecht Felt & Fiber, Beeper Bebe, Berglund Skålar, Beth Homa-Style, Birch and Body, Briggs and Craft Knits, Catherine Schoenherr, Cecilia Schiller, Clay and/or Wood, Clay Bay Pottery, Dottir, Faith Clover, Fieldwork Goods, Flemming Petersen & Company, Folkdress Fantasy, Front Avenue Pottery & Tile Co., Greta Pearl, Hallin.Designs, hand2mouthcrafts, Homesteading Bliss, Ilrid Vikings, Kilns Of Flanders, Kim Losse & Donna Millard Pottery, Lakestone Jewelry, Laurie Jacobi Original Designs in Wool, LB Originals, Lisa Rydin Erickson, loomsong studio, Lund Studios, Marcia Almquist - Little Red Trunk, Michael Fasold, Open Cupboard Designs, Peder Hegland Pottery, SaraEmily, Simply Elegant Glass Art, Steller Handcrafted Goods, STITCHESbycarin, Studio Tupla, T & C Latane, Teresa Audet, The Apron Lady, The Homesteads, Thrifty Sewing, Top Knot Stitching, Traveling Tomten,  Willow Tree Jewelry, Women’s Woodshop and Wooly Works

Winter Solstice Celebration
Friday, December 20, 6 – 10 p.m.

Mark the powerful seasonal juncture when the earth’s tilt creates the shortest day and longest night of the year. Celebrate at ASI with special activities, performances, self-guided tours of the Turnblad Mansion's holiday rooms and more. FIKA will serve a special festival menu and warm glögg.  The ASI Museum Store and Jul Shop will be open for last-minute holiday shopping needs. New — advanced registration is now required. Tickets: $10 ASI members / $15 non-members / $5 children under 18.

Julbord — A Swedish Christmas Feast
Saturday, December 21, 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 22, 1 p.m. Register by December 13.

The Julbord, or Christmas smörgåsbord, is a great way to celebrate with friends and family. This Scandinavian feast delivers a full selection of traditional dishes, such as meatballs, herring, side dishes and desserts prepared by the talented FIKA chefs as part of ASI's Slate & Stone Catering. Cash bar available. $65 ASI members / $75 non-members / $25 children ages 6-11 / free for children 5 and under (must still be registered) Includes museum admission. Saturday’s diners may view the holiday exhibition from 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Kids at the Castle
Kids and their grown-ups enjoy monthly playdates with visual games, storytelling, crafts, music and movement inspired by the season and current exhibitions. Suggested for ages 2-5. $8 per family. No registration necessary.

Thankful Hearts: explore themes related to gratitude.

Friday and Saturday, November 15 & 16, 9 – 10 a.m.
Tiny Tomtes and Extraordinary Elves: look for Tomte and his helpful friends

Friday and Saturday, December 20 & 21, 9 – 10 a.m.

Julglädje (“Christmas Joy”) Performances

Saturday, November 30, Sunday, December 1, Friday and Saturday, December 27 & 28; All at 1 p.m.

Julglädje, ASI’s annual “Christmas Joy” join-in family 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, interactive musical tale. $10 ASI members / $12 non-members / $5 kids 6-17 / free for kids 5 and under. Museum admission must be purchased separately.

Lucia Celebration Concerts
Saturday, December 14, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Celebrate light during the long winter in these special Swedish traditional concerts featuring the youthful voices of the 2019 ASI Lucia Choir in Larson Hall. $15 ASI members / $20 non-members. Tickets on sale November 4.

ASI Neighborhood Open House – Free ASI Admission

Wednesday, January 8, 5 – 8 p.m.

Be our guest at ASI’s annual Neighborhood Open House with FREE museum admission, performances, bonfires and hands-on crafts to thank our neighbors and supporters. Visit for the first time or come back again and introduce the Mansion to your friends. Just show up! No need to register.

Holiday Highlights – Classes and Workshops

Julmys Craft and Cocktail series

Wednesdays, November 6 – December 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Give the gift of a shared experience. ASI’s popular holiday Craft and Cocktails series returns for the season with our Julmys (Cozy Christmas) edition! Join experienced craft instructors on Wednesday nights, when ASI is open until 8 p.m., to create a holiday decoration and enjoy a festive beverage from FIKA. $35 ASI members / $40 non-members. Additional materials fees may apply.

Ah Snaps! Swedish Drinking Songs Workshop

Wednesday, December 16, 6:30 p.m.

Sing and skål like a Swede. Snapsvisor, or drinking songs, are essential to many festive occasions in Sweden. Learn several popular songs Water will be provided for toasts or feel free to buy a libation from FIKA.  Registration: $15 ASI members / $18 non-members.


Private Group Tours — ASI’s Time Tested. Tradition Approved. Exhibition

Looking for a special way to celebrate the season with friends, family or work colleagues? Book a private tour to experience ASI, one of the Midwest’s most talked about holiday destinations. Tour times are available at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday. Add a lunch option to make it an especially memorable outing. Contact ASI at 612-871-4907 or to schedule.

The Jul Shop at the American Swedish Institute Museum Store is open November 15, 2019, through January 12, 2020.

Member Appreciation weekend is Friday–Sunday, November15–17 with tiered discounts for ASI Members. Spend $1 - $75 and get 10% off; $75.01 - $150 and get 15% off; $150.01 + and get 20% off.  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 glassware, one-of-a-kind holiday decorations, chocolates, textiles, candles and more.  


  • 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.
  • 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 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. – 3 p.m.
  • Please note: during Julmarknad on December 7-8, 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

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.


Time Tested, Tradition Approved, the holiday exhibition at ASI, is supported by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Mike and Barb Nelson, 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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