Collections: Thoughts and Things Celebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Välkommen! Tervetuloa!

Field Trip! Come with us to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum.  Located in a red brick building that started life in 1907 as an elementary school. The wide hallways, high ceilings, worn and polished steps and banisters crafted in a varieties of wood, brass hinges and old windows are all features that are right up my alley. I love old buildings that retain their pizzazz. Just being in the structure was a treat.

Growing up I thought ‘Uff-Da’ bumper stickers on (big surprise) a preponderance of Volvos were representative of a tuba player in the family.  Silly me, the Northwest has a number of  wonderful musical organizations, and an enormous Scandinavian community. This is the only museum in the US that represents the cultural heritage of all five Nordic countries. (1)

VelkommenAny hoo, the museum has a fine exhibit on immigrating to America (sassy teenage reenactors not included. . .)Immigration ExhibitEach of the  countries are highlighted with individual collections.  And as you may glean, we had often had a room to ourselves. Many lovely things to see.

Bow of boat detail

Bow of boat detail

Norwegian bunader, traditional regional costumes. The designs are usually elaborate and include bags, scarves or shawls.

Carved spoon

Carved spoon

So many of the items and handicrafts displayed both beautiful and useful. This spoon could have been used for a bowl of rømmegrøt. (2) Puts the ‘stick’ in sticks to your ribs.

A very popular Swedish immigrant as captured the heart of many American girls.

Kirsten Larson

American Girl Kirsten Larson. Her stories begin in 1854.

No surprise, a Viking

No surprise, a Viking or two in the halls

While many items at the museum were handsomely crafted, some were not.  Our tour was going along swimmingly until we saw these chairs.  As a mom, one of the things I’ve been known to state, chant and/or nag is the classic “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”  These chairs are an example.

Trolls+paint+chair is not a good combination. What is Icelandic for “No thanks, I’d prefer to stand?” (4)  Although, I feel like there may be an Oddvar or Alf somewhere in Valhalla saying “Look Ingvild, I told you so, my chairs are in a museum.” (5)

Let’s wrap up our tour and quickly move to these examples of Nordic seating.

Whew! Tak og farvel (6)Flags


  1. The five Nordic countries are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway
  2. Deportation Division could be checking for cholera, tuberculosis, insanity (hmmm, yes for my child) or trachoma, a highly contagious eye infection that can lead to blindness.
  3. Rømmegrøt is Norwegian porridge made with sour cream, whole milk, wheat flour, butter, and salt.
  4. “Nei takk, ég myndi vilja að standa” is Icelandic for “No thanks, I’d prefer to stand
  5. Deleting these chair photos from my files after pressing publish!
  6. Thank you and goodbye in Danish
  7. Post title is ‘Welcome’ in Swedish and Finnish.

PS, Finland is #1 in world coffee consumption, and the other Nordic countries following in the top 6. However, there was not a café serving strong black coffee, or hákarl, herring, lefse or Danish.

The museum does have a charming gift shop that I would be happy to peruse again.  We picked up a couple Nordic gifts.

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