Annual Gala


The Swedish American Museum’s annual fundraising event is always a night of fun, where we celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Swedish and Swedish-American heritage and culture and unite for an evening of festivity and philanthropy. Save the date for the 2024 Aspire Gala on Saturday, Nov. 2.

At the 2023 gala, we proudly honored Tamara Biggs, who has been making exhibitions for over 40 years, beginning in 1981 as a preparator at Chicago’s Field Museum. After five years as a project manager at Denver Museum of Nature and Science, she became director of exhibitions at Chicago History Museum, where she led an award-winning team for 22 years. Together they created nearly 100 exhibitions, four of them winners of the American Alliance of Museum’s Excellence in Exhibition award, one a winner of the Allan Bérubé Prize from the Committee on LGBT History, and one a winner of the Costume Society of America’s Richard Martin Exhibition Award, as well as five MUSE awards for exhibit media. She was a founder of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, a consortium of ethnic museums and cultural centers, and has served on the boards of National Association for Museum Exhibitions and the National Indo-American Museum. Tamara's influence truly spans generations and she has been an instrumental asset to the Museum in countless ways.

Tamara has worked with the Museum since 2012 to envision, plan and implement an updated core exhibit on the second floor, beginning with an analysis of Dream of America and a successful grant to upgrade collections storage. In 2021, we received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create We Are America. The $500,000 project is half funded by IMLS and half fundraised by the Museum during our 40th Anniversary campaign in 2016 and 2017. Tamara has been with us throughout the process, and her guidance and knowledge have been instrumental every step of the way.

We are now in the middle of the update and anxiously await the grand opening of We Are America.

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Gold Sponsor

Matthew W. Herman and Steven T. Satek - Co-Chairs Aspire Gala 2023

Bronze Sponsor

Kenneth Norgan, Board of Trustees

Table Sponsor

Albert and Maria Goodman, Board of Trustees
Brian T. Johnson, Board of Directors
Ron and Loretta Peterson

Wine Sponsor

Bob and Mardee Gramen, Board of Trustees

Music Sponsor

The Weidemanis Family, Board of Directors

Evening Sponsor

Gunilla M. Goulding, Board of Directors
Russell and Catherine Holmquist, Board of Trustees
Law Offices A. E. Gustafsson, PC
Sky Bridge Resource Center

Dessert Sponsor

Kevin S. Williams, Board of Directors

Mix and Mingle Sponsor

Carolyn J. Aronson, Board of Directors
Great Lakes Clinical Trials

Beverage Sponsor

Matt R Olaveson, Board of Trustees
Adam G Vitale

Craft Cocktail Sponsor

Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates