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Visit MN ‘castle’ at American-Swedish Institute

July 4, 2012

If you’re looking for an interesting and cool (as in temperature) tourist destination in the Minneapolis area this hot July, may I suggest visiting the castle-like Turnblad Mansion at the American Swedish Institute.

I’m not Swedish, so I’d never thought of visiting the ASI until I did volunteer work Saturday at the opening of the institute’s new addition. I was so intrigued that I took house guests from out of state back to the institute this week. We enjoyed not only the mansion but also the tapestry and carving exhibits.

The 33-room, French Chateauesque-style Turnblad Mansion was completed in 1908 for a Swedish immigrant who owned an American Swedish newspaper. The exterior boasts intricate stone carvings, steeply pitched roofs, gargoyles and turrets. As my guest noted, it’s not every day that you see gutters disappear into lions’ mouths.

A two-story, hand-carved mahogany fireplace is the focal point of the majestic Grand Hall. The mansion also showcases carved woodwork, exquisite furniture, sculpted ceilings and 11 Swedish porcelain kakeluguar (tile stoves).

Huge, gorgeous tapestries (some as large as a… horse or carriage) and whimsical Nordic carvings were on display when we visited. For the next few weeks, Hennepin County library patrons can get two free passes for various tourist attractions in the Twin Cities area, including the ASI. Otherwise, ASI tickets are $7 for adults. (Note: This is the last year for the museum passes program.)

By the way, that flower “picture” is a huge tapestry–larger than  the area rug in my living room.

Here is some Swedish music that I videotaped at the open house Saturday. Don’t you feel like you’re in Sweden?

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 11:16 am

    That sounds like a bargain price for a place like that. I’ll have to remember it if we ever make it to Minneapolis. Love the music!

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