This week, we chat with Karin Moen Abercrombie, Executive Director for the Swedish American Museum (located at 5211 N Clark) which has been an Andersonville institution since 1976, for over 40 years! Karin was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden. She has lived in Andersonville for 25 years, raised her family here, walks to work daily, and possesses a wealth of knowledge about the neighborhood’s changing landscape.
“If you walked down a city in Sweden, it would look very much like Andersonville…it doesn’t matter your background or if you’re young or old, everybody is welcome.”
– Karin Moen Abercrombie
Listen to Episode 3 with Karin Moen Abercrombe!
Here are some of Karin’s references from Episode 3 that you may want to check out:
- Aside from the many standing and rotating exhibits, the museum is also host to the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, and the Swedish American Genealogy Center
- Karin mentions that Andersonville used to be the place where you could meet other Swedes and get Swedish food. The neighborhood once boasted several Swedish delis and other businesses. Learn about them during the monthly summer walking tour of Andersonville! Tours usually occur the last Wednesday of the month between June – September.
- Kurt Mathiasson was the founder of the Swedish American Museum. You can listen to recorded interview’s with Kurt via the Library of Congress website! Listen to Part 1 & Part 2
- The museum attracts about 45,000 visitors annually, plus more during Midsommar weekend. All kinds of international visitors come annually as well and visit other local Andersonville businesses
- August 8, 2017 welcomed the return of Andersonville’s beloved water tower. See pictures below!
“It’s really hard to put words to that day – it was just such an amazing feeling.”
– Karin Moen Abercrombie
- The museum celebrated 40 years in 2017 and was able to purchase the 5217 N Clark building, which is now home to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. The Edgewater Historical Society (5358 N Ashland ) also discovered that this building was built by a Swede!
- This weekend on April 7-8 is the Tantalizing Treasures sale at the museum! Learn more here
- April 28 – The museum celebrates Earth Day (a week later) with KidWorks Theatre
- June 8-10: Come listen to ABBA Salute during Andersonville Midsommarfest! Karin likes Money Money Money and Dancing Queen
- Check out the museum’s current exhibit Outside the Lines: Comics from Sweden to Chicago, which includes a “Be a Neighborhood Hero” selfie wall for kids and adults to memorialize their visit (and promote Andersonville!)