From the age of the Vikings to the settlers of the New Sweden Colony (1638-1655), to contemporary issues in Scandinavian society, the American Swedish Historical Museum will take you back in time and across the sea to learn the stories of Swedes in America.

Past Exhibitions

Discover the Swedish mumming tradition of the Easter Witch (påskkäring) through a family’s handmade Easter letters (påskbrev). This exhibition will trace the traditions of the Easter Witch from the persecution of witches in the 18th century to the present-day celebration where children travel door-to-door collecting candy. Easter letters given to children during the holiday brought joy and fear, as the frightening images depicted witches flying to Blåkulla (Blue Hill), where they danced and dined with the Devil.

For more than 5,000 years, tattoos have helped document the history of humanity one painful mark at a time. Tattoo: Identity Through Ink tells the story of why people have adorned their bodies with tattoos, from practices in Indigenous cultures to sailors in the 19th century to motorcycle gangs in the 1960s, to athletes and celebrities today. The exhibition showcases the last 150 years of tattooing in America, from the sideshows in the early part of the 20th century to modern celebrity tattoos.

Fika is life! When people fika (fee-ka), they take a break, unwind, or just enjoy each other’s company. They share conversations over a delicious cup of coffee and eat customary Swedish or other favorite pastries. This September, the American Swedish Historical Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of original watercolors by Jan Padover featuring various desserts traditionally served during fika. Learn about Sweden’s long history with coffee and how these foods became a treasured pastime loved by people all over the world.

This exhibition organized by the American Swedish Historical Museum reunites the workshop and wares of Olof Althin (1859-1920), an immigrant cabinetmaker and antiques restorer in turn-of-the-century Boston. Throughout his life, Althin navigated the intersections between immigrant and American, reproducer and restorer, and designer and maker.

Around the World: The Global Curiosities of Carl Otto Lindberg explores the life of a Swedish-American mining engineer. Born near Stockholm, Carl Otto Lindberg (1879 - 1960) immigrated to the United States as a young man, after attending the Royal Swedish War Academy. After graduating from the Michigan College of Mines in 1906, he entered the mining business. Lindberg spent the height of his career as the head of the Gold Fields American Development Company.

You are probably familiar with Gustaf Tenggren’s art without even knowing his name. This exhibit charts Tenggren’s career in the United States—from his early successes in New York to his time at Walt Disney Studios and eventual retirement in Maine.

Tenggren’s art is magical, atmospheric, moody, and enchanting. Such qualities endeared the young artist to Nordic publishers in the early 1900s for children’s books such as “Among Gnomes and Trolls” or the tales of the Brothers Grimm.

ASHM’s upcoming exhibition, New Nordic Cuisine, is the defining exhibition on one of the most important cultural phenomena to come out of the Nordic countries in recent decades. It focuses on a value-driven food system that has captured the attention of world-famous chefs and home cooks alike over the past 15 years.

Diane Burko has traveled to every continent to paint and photograph vast landscapes and monumental geological phenomenon. From ship to satellite; Cessna seaplane to helicopter, the sources for Burko’s art are as wide-ranging as her travels.