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Press Release

American Swedish Institute Announces Retirement of CEO

Longtime president/CEO Bruce Karstadt to step down in 2023
April 20, 2022 By Lizzy Rode

MINNEAPOLIS — The American Swedish Institute (ASI) announces Bruce Karstadt will retire as president and CEO during the first half of 2023. Karstadt has led ASI for more than three decades, guiding its transformation to a vibrant community pillar with national and international status. Karstadt will remain in his role until a successor is in place and will provide transitional support to new leadership.

ASI is looking forward to honoring Bruce’s legacy, and is moving forward with a search to find his replacement. Isaacson, Miller—an executive search firm specializing in recruiting leadership for mission-driven organizations, including the Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota and the Jerome Foundation—will handle the international search.

“It is a great privilege to have served this important and beloved institution, as well as our community, and I have enormous pride in what we’ve accomplished together. From renovations to the historic castle, to the LEED Gold Certified Nelson Cultural Center addition, to our world-class café, FIKA, I’ve been honored to be part of the transformation at ASI,” says Bruce Karstadt, ASI president and CEO. “Now, ASI will benefit from the new perspectives and creative energy brought about by a carefully planned transition, to help the organization serve as a platform for continued success and service to the community. I look forward to handing off the keys to the castle next year.”

“Under Bruce’s stewardship, ASI has been transformed from inward-focused to inclusive, pursuing its vision to be a leading museum and cultural center that, informed by enduring links to Sweden, invites all people to connect their pasts to their shared future and to understand their heritage in relation to others,” says Brad Engdahl, chair of the ASI board of trustees. “I am so proud of Bruce’s contributions to ASI’s growth, depth and breadth of programs, and accomplishments in the community. The board salutes Bruce’s tenure and will be very thoughtful about the transition to ensure the strong cultural, financial and programmatic foundations of ASI are preserved while seeking someone who will lead ASI into its next chapter of growth, innovation and adventure.”

Until his departure, Bruce will continue his current focus, raising full funding for the restoration and rehabilitation of the two iconic historic treasures at the center of the ASI campus, the Turnblad Mansion and Carriage House.  To fully fund this effort will allow ASI to focus on creating educational programs, exhibitions and events.  To learn more, visit this link.

American Swedish Institute (ASI), designated to the National Register for Historic Places, is a historic castle-like mansion, museum and cultural center, and a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging, and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden. ASI, which received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums, is an organization The Wall Street Journal calls “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming,” is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis.