Swedish American Contributions to Chicago Essay

Swedish American Contributions to Chicago Essay

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This essay is based on my recent visit to The Swedish American Museum located in the Andersonville community at 5211 S. Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois. In the 1850s the area was considered to be north of Foster and east of Clark was a large cherry orchard, and families had only begun to move into the fringes of what is now Andersonville. Swedish immigrants continued to arrive in Andersonville throughout the beginning of the 20th century. The Swedish American Museum was founded in 1976, by Kurt Mathiasson, as a grassroots effort to preserve and disseminate the history of the great contributions of early Swedish immigrants to Chicago.

First of all, I observed a rich cultural museum that has gained national acclaim as a model urban museum. It is filled with unique and valued artifacts, exhibits, and historic information that relates to the Swedish Immigration to Chicago. There was a replica of a Swedish log cabin exhibit from Valmasen, Harjedalen near the Norwegian border. There was a mannequin in the log cabin that represented Stina Olofsdotter, mother of Anders Larson and his family, who immigrated to America in 1868. This type of journey could take up to a couple of months depending on the conditions at sea. The log cabin also had cabinet that held many beautiful types of linen. I noticed the white candle wicked bedspread with crocheted edging on the sides. The cotton apron on the straight-back wooden chair has a crocheted trim. The wooden objects in the cabin include a candleholder, wood canister with a cover, and homemade wooden rake. The art of bending, coopering, and shaping wooden objects was highly developed in the 19th century Sweden, and formed the basis for a cottage industry. Across from the log cabin are the lar...


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...al singing. The Chicago Swedish male Chorus continues today and practices in here at Swedish American Museum.
Today, Andersonville is comprised almost entirely of unique, locally owned, independent businesses. By visiting the Swedish Museum my personal perception has been enhanced by learning Swedes culture, values, and beliefs. I am no longer ignorant to the facts about another culture that immigrated to Chicago. I plan on sharing this information with my friends and family in hopes of enriching them with the knowledge I’ve learned by writing this paper. I have no questions to ask. I have included a folder of pictures that I hope you will enjoy that showcase my trip to the Swedish American Museum. Andersonville remains one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States, but its residents and businesses represent a wide array of cultures.

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