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Member Support and Our Global Community

June 15, 2021 By Eric Wilson

Generous support from our community members helps create memorable experiences at the American Swedish institute, and supports the preservation of the historic Turnblad Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The impact of the American Swedish Institute is not limited to the intersection of 26th and Park Avenue in Minneapolis. Being a supporter of the American Swedish Institute means making possible our programming, exhibitions, and neighborhood partnerships that bring together not only Twin Cities residents, but a strong global community. Constituents can engage with ASI’s rich collections, unique exhibitions, and diverse programming from all over the world, whether in person or online. Our community members are vital in supporting our core mission while building an international community of individuals who want to discover the art, handcraft, and cultural traditions of the Nordic region through the historic Turnblad Mansion.

Community support keeps ASI a vibrant global resource and nourishes community both near and far. We are grateful to those who support our shared mission of making ASI a gathering place for all people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment, and the arts, informed by enduring links to Sweden and the Nordic region. Community investment in the Turnblad Mansion can be seen in our vibrant educational programs, our commitment to preserving our historic grounds, the sharing of cultural traditions both old and new, and in our efforts to uplift and celebrate the surrounding Phillips West neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Julgllädje, which translated from Swedish means Christmas joy, is a time for families to gather around the holidays, play and listen to festive music, and create lifelong memories. Julgllädje is a time to come together with family and friends and sing along to well-loved Swedish and American holiday tunes. Most recently, ASI staff and community partners worked to facilitate a virtual show for families around the world. Although participants were in different homes (and even a few in different countries!) the musical performers were able to engage with each household with the same enthusiastic, welcoming energy as a live, in person show. This creative undertaking by ASI staff and partner musicians would not have been possible without community members who support our programming and help enable us deliver opportunities to learn, celebrate, and connect with friends and family.

When asked why she and her partner decided to support the American Swedish Institute through their membership, one ASI member explained that: “It’s important that my child learns about their heritage,” and offers that ASI allows her family an opportunity to do this together.

This is not an unusual sentiment among ASI members, who claim heritage from around the world, not just the Nordic region. Constituents seek out a place to celebrate Nordic tradition in relation to their own culture and stories of migration. ASI offers a place for them to discover their heritage in relation to others whose heritage or experiences may be different from their own.

Community support helps ensure ASI remains place for the intergenerational passing down of traditions that uplift and celebrate Nordic heritage. This passing down of tradition is perhaps most on display during annual public programs such as Midsommar or Lucia Choir. festival. Events like these encourage the community to gather, participate in traditions both old and new, and connect across identities and generations. While these moments are often elaborate festival celebrations that mark the beginning of the summer or holiday season, they can be as simple as sharing a meal at ASI’s FIKA café with friends and family or sharing a piece of our own stories at our Stories in a Snapshot experience. Our community empowers us to facilitate intergenerational cultural programming where visitors can share traditions and make new memories that will endure for generations to come.

Supporters of the American Swedish Institute also act as stewards of the Turnblad Mansion, volunteering time and expertise to preserve it as a gathering place for the community for years to come. Community members who support ASI through their volunteer work are stewards of the Turnblad Mansion in especially creative and innovative ways. The Ballroom, located on the third floor on the Mansion, is a majestic room in proportion and detail. However, heat rises and in the Mansion this theory proves itself especially in the summer months in Minnesota. An innovative group of volunteers proposed a project that re-imagined the Mansion’s attic space in a way that increased ventilation. The upper level of the Turnblad Mansion is now a bit more comfortable for Summer visitors. This is an example of dedicated volunteers, who support ASI through their technical training and life experience, creating a practical solution to help preserve the Turnblad Mansion.

Thank you to our community members and supporting for activating our mission at the American Swedish Institute. Your generosity allows us to develop innovative programs, share our traditions old and new, and preserve the Turnblad Mansion for years to come. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Learn how you can support the ASI and our global community today!