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Gammelgården Museum
20880 Olinda Trail, Scandia, MN 55073
Admission: $0.00
Tours: Adults $7.00; Children Free; Explore the grounds for FREE
Hours of Operation:
Mon. Closed
Tue. Closed
Wed. 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Thu. 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Fri. 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Sat. 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Sun. 01:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Open seasonally May 1-December 23.

The Gammelgården Museum is a museum that honors and remembers Swedish immigrants in Minnesota and the U.S. in general. Built on an old homestead and adjacent to a city park, this museum is one of the hidden gems of Minnesota’s metro area. About an hour from Minneapolis, a visit to this museum makes a nice Sunday drive from the Twin Cities. “Gammelgården” means Old Farm in Swedish. Here visitors can step back in history and experience the lives of early Swedish immigrants in the only open-air museum devoted to Swedish immigration in the United States. Visitors can see several historic buildings on the acres of museum property, including the Immigrant Hus, an old barn, a small house (Stuga), a larger Valkommen Hus that serves as a visitors center and the Gammelkyrkan church building. There are also nearby picnic areas and a playground at Barton Johnson Park, which is right next door to the museum. Those who are interested, can walk through the adjacent cemetery, which has graves that date back to the 1800s.

Note: The museum is mainly run by volunteers and website information is not always up-to-date. We highly recommend calling ahead prior to any visit.

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Visiting with School Age Kids

This museum is ideal for school age kids. There is so much to explore indoors and out. On our last visit, we learned that Janet Beeler Shaw, the author of the American Girl Kirsten books, actually came to Gammelgården to research what life would have been like for Kirsten. It could be fun to listen to an audio Kirsten book during the hour drive from the Twin Cities. There is a nearby park with a Little Free Library, so kids can get a little playtime and maybe trade out some books for the ride home. Anne shares more about her family’s visit below.

Little Free Library found in Barton Johnson Park adjacent Gammelgården of Scandia, Minnesota
Little Free Library near Gammelgarden Museum

Visiting with Toddlers and Preschool Children

This is one of those museums where it is a good idea to remind the kids that it IS a museum before visiting. Although some things are meant to be touched, not everything is and they should remember to ask Mom or Dad before they grab or touch anything. While grade school kids will likely appreciate this museum the most, there will be hands-on activities for smaller kids – especially when attending during one of the special events throughout the year. The visit can include a lot of walking and the trip to and from the Twin Cities may make this visit a long day. Be prepared for tired tots, pack snacks and have an exit plan if necessary. Barton Johnson Park is adjacent to the Gammelgården grounds and can be a good place to unwind and let kids run.

Tired toddler next to a large nordic clock after a day of exploring Gammelgården of Scandia, Minnesota

Fun Family Events

Throughout the year, the grounds open for for community events that offer activities for the whole family. Some of our favorites are Bluegrass and Lemonade (see Anne’s review below), Midsommar Dag in June,  Spelmansstämman Festival (an immigrant gathering of fiddlers festival) in August and Lucia Dagen in December. Watch our Family Fun calendar for upcoming kid-friendly events. When visiting, take some time to explore the surrounding area as all of Scandia embraces its Swedish-American culture and ancestry.

Gammelgården Museum Tours

Although exploring on your own is fun, guided tours are available for a small fee between early May and mid-October on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:30pm. Admission is $7 for ages 13+ and free for children 12 and under. The grounds, Välkommen Hus, and Butik Gift Shop are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from May through winter solstice for self-guided exploring. If you do decide to do the self-guided tour, you can pull up a recorded tour from YouTube and see the exteriors of the Präst Hus, Gammelkyrkan, Ladugård, Immigrant Hus and Stuga.

Birthday Parties at Gammelgården Museum

Gammelgården has birthday party packages for boys and girls during the museum’s open months. Choose from Annie’s Immigrant Party or Tor’s Outdoors.

Collage of little girl posing next to four giant Dala horses around the grounds of Gammelgården of Scandia, Minnesota

Gammelgården Summer Camps

Full and half-day camps are traditionally offered each summer. Check our annual summer camp guide for up-to-date annual information.

Anne’s Visit to Gammelgården Museum for Blue Grass and Lemonade

Not to long ago, Anne visited Gammelgården for a Blue Grass and Lemonade event and shares her family’s experience here.

Three girls standing in front of a Dala Horse in front of the Gammelgården of Scandia Minnesota

Tipped off by a friendly farmer at an event in the area, we detoured over to the Gammelgarden Museum in Scandia for one of their Sunday afternoon “Bluegrass & Lemonade” jams. They are advertised as being held out on the shady lawn of the Welcome House (or “Valkommen Hus”, as the Swedes christened it), but perhaps due to the July heat the picking session had been moved indoors. This was somewhat unfortunate because apparently the presence of children is rare at these events; we were gazed upon curiously enough (not unkindly, I stress) to grab our Arnie Palmers after a few harmonies and tiptoe outside as quietly as a family of six can manage.

Front porch and exterior of preserved building of early Swedish immigrants found on the grounds of Gammelgården of Scandia Minnesota.

Fortunately, there’s plenty to see and do on the green of the Gammelgarden (translates to “Old Farm”), which is a collection of preserved buildings that tell the story of early Swedish Americans who immigrated to the Scandia area. You can purchase tickets and take a guided tour of the historic church, school and other edifices — or, if you arrive when a tour is not available, explore the grounds on your own. The buildings are labeled with informational placards. There’s a picnic pavilion and throwback playground equipment. And, my 3-year-old stresses, do not miss seeking out the four colorful Dala horses scattered about the property.

A series of other special events year-round including classes, camps, meals and family activities make the Gammelgarden worth a stop in any season. We were delighted to discover it.

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Little girl running next to a large black Dala horse at Gammelgården of Scandia, Minnesota

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