Nordic Heritage Museum Programs
Nordic American Voices - An Oral History Initiative
The Nordic American Voices project is a multi-year effort to collect, preserve, and share the histories of Nordic immigrants and their descendants in the Pacific Northwest. This project builds upon the Vanishing Generation Project, in which 123 interviews were recorded by more than 40 volunteers. In 2001 the Museum, together with project partners, the Ballard Historical Society and the Swedish Finn Historical Society published Voices of Ballard: Immigrant Stories from the Vanishing Generation. The scope of this project reaches beyond Ballard, capturing the stories of individuals from the farming communities of Snohomish and Skagit Counties to Scandinavian settlements in Eastern Washington. These interviews will inform future publications including the 2nd edition of Voices of Ballard, available in early summer. Materials and interviews will also be incorporated into exhibitions in the Museum’s current facility and in the new facility.
Nordic Lights Film Festival
The Museum’s initiative to expand programming for an audience interested in contemporary themes, issues, and arts led to its presentation of the Nordic Lights Film Festival. Born of a partnership between domestic and international film institutes, the Nordic Lights Film Festival celebrates Scandinavian film and presents contemporary, award-winning films from all five Nordic countries. The Festival has drawn a large and diverse audience including families, members of our local Nordic community, and cinema devotees intrigued by an opportunity to view films renowned in Europe.
The Museum’s permanent exhibitions are anchored by The Dream of America, which features photographs, artifacts, sound and environments. The exhibit provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the dramatic journey of early 20th-century Nordic immigrants to America and the Pacific Northwest. Nine additional galleries focus on the immigrant heritage of each Nordic countries and the impact of Nordic immigration on the Northwest.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Museum’s Capital Campaign to build a permanent home on Market Street in Seattle’s Ballard District has made substantial headway. To date, the Museum has raised $26M from private donors, foundations and government sources. Over 750 donors have already made or pledged gifts to the Museum. In June 2006 the Museum secured two full blocks of land on Market Street in Ballard and in October 2009 completed the acquisition of the expansive building site for the new museum and cultural center.
MITHŪN, a national leader in sustainable design, is the architect for the new museum and is working with esteemed Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa. The exhibit design firm of Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc., New York, well known for designing the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., together with Mithun and Pallasmaa have created concept designs for the architecture and the exhibitions for the new facility.
Among the Museum’s current need is an effort to build capacity for the future to ensure continued excellence in the Museum’s growing programs and services to the community.