Gustavus Announces Plans for Outreach Office at ASI

Posted on June 15th, 2010 by

The American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute, a museum and cultural center with an international reputation on historic Park Avenue in the heart of South Minneapolis, today unveiled designs for the Nelson Cultural Center, a building to be constructed adjacent to the iconic Turnblad Mansion. The Center will house, among other things, an outreach office for Gustavus Adolphus College. Gustavus will use its new space for Twin Cities admission, alumni relations and educational programming.

“This Twin Cities presence will greatly enhance and support the many and diverse activities that engage our Twin Cities area constituents,” said President Jack R. Ohle. “With this partnership, the College and the Institute are excited to build on a long-standing relationship based upon common Swedish heritage and mutual passion for excellence, education, and service.”

Founded in 1929, the American Swedish Institute is the foremost Swedish-American organization in the United States, with a national audience and international exhibition program. The historic house, museum and cultural center celebrate Swedish, Swedish-American and Nordic culture. Each year, more than 75,000 people of all ages visit the museum, its exhibitions, and attend classes, programs and events. The organization has approximately 5,000 household members in 46 states and five countries.

“The Gustavus partnership in the Nelson Cultural Center is integral to our vision of our renovated and expanded campus as a vibrant gathering place,” said Bruce Karstadt, president and chief executive officer of the American Swedish Institute. “We are continuing the tradition of Swedish immigrants who founded organizations and constructed buildings for the community good.”

Named after benefactors Carl ’51 and Leslie Nelson, the 34,000-square-foot addition is scheduled to begin construction in early 2011 and be completed in mid-2012. The building is designed for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The Turnblad Mansion, which has housed the American Swedish Institute for 80 years, will be renovated to preserve original rooms, open more spaces to the public, improve accessibility, and create additional classrooms and community meeting spaces. Landscaping of the entire campus will provide grounds for community festivals, enhance the visitor entrance and complement the buildings.

In addition to the Gustavus space, the American Swedish Institute’s campus expansion will accommodate the offices of the Minneapolis Honorary Swedish Consulate General and the Swedish Council of America, an umbrella for nearly 300 Swedish-American organizations. Both organizations currently have offices at the American Swedish Institute.

Gustavus Adolphus College was founded in 1862 by Swedish immigrants and is rooted in its ethnic heritage and its relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The College is named after King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden, a great supporter of education and the arts. Gustavus maintains many connections to its Swedish heritage, including its St. Lucia festival in December, its Scandinavian Studies program, and The Nobel Conference, which brings the greatest minds to campus every October to discuss the most important scientific issues of the day.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Cathy Waldhauser says:

    This will be a wonderful Twin Cities presence for Gustavus and the Swedish Institute.