The Åland Islands Emigrant Institute is maintained by The Åland Islands Emigrant Institute Society.
The initiative to found the Emigrant Institute was taken in the mid 1980's by the American Ålander John Wennström, who emigrated to the USA in 1936. He took a very active part in the organizational activities of Ålanders and Swedes living in New York. For many years he was the President of Society Åland of New York.
The proposal of an Ålandic emigrant centre generated a lot of interest. However, it was not until 1994 that a committee gathered to work out rules for a society. The purpose of the new society was "to activate an idealistic interest in and to promote further research into emigration from the Åland Islands". In order to achieve this goal the society will maintain an Ålandic emigrant institute. The official grand opening of the Institute took place at the celebrations of the Emigrants' Day the 13th of July 1996.