Weaving a New Chapter: The Material Lives of Swedish Immigrants tells the story of Swedish immigration to America through the objects they brought with them in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Sweden’s craft and textile history has been an intrinsic part of Swedish heritage and cultural identity at home and abroad. Swedish immigrants produced remarkable fiber arts for centuries and brought their knowledge of weaving, knitting, embroidery, lacemaking, and trade skills to their new homes. After establishing themselves in places like Chicago and the Mid-West, some Swedes went back to Sweden to collect ancestral heirlooms that connected them to their family’s past.
The American Swedish Historical Museum’s new exhibition will display the skills and techniques developed to craft these treasured items and highlight their cultural relationship to textiles, clothing, and other objects through the lens of Swedish immigration.