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The Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center, commonly known as the Hjemkomst Center, is an interpretation center museum in Moorhead, Minnesota, United States. The building opened in 1985 and serves as a home to Hjemkomst Viking Ship, Hopperstad Stave Church replica, quarterly museum exhibits, and county archives. It is also occupied by the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.
The Red River Valley exhibit is a permanent display of the geologic and cultural history of the valley and its settlers.
The Hjemkomst, which means "Homecoming" in Norwegian, is a Viking ship that is permanently housed in the center of the museum. The ship is a full-scale replica of the Gokstad Viking ship that was discovered in Norway in 1881. The idea for building the Hjemkomst was that of Robert Asp, a guidance counselor at Moorhead Junior High School.
Construction on the Hjemkomst began in 1974 at the Leslie Welter Potato Warehouse in Hawley, Minnesota. The Warehouse was then transformed into the Hawley Shipyard during the construction. That same year, Asp became diagnosed with leukemia; however he still continued to build the ship; he had help from other volunteers.
In July 1980 the Hawley Shipyard was torn down for the removal and christening of the completed ship. The Hjemkomst was shipped overnight to Duluth, Minnesota, on August 5, 1980. Asp held the rank as captain during the ship's maiden voyage throughout Lake Superior until his death four months later on December 27, 1980.
In May 1982, Asp's three sons and daughter along with eight members of the Hjemkomst crew decided to sail the Hjemkomst to Norway, which was Asp's original dream. The ship departed New York City on June 8, 1982 and arrived in Oslo, Norway two months later on August 9, 1982. The ship stayed in Oslo for a year until it was transported back to Minnesota on the M/V Brunto.
The Hopperstad Stave Church Replica
The Hopperstad Stave Church Replica is a replica of a Norwegian stave church located on the grounds of the Hjemkomst Center. The church was built in 1998 by Guy Paulson and is a full-scale replica of the 12th Century Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik, Norway. This Norwegian-style church serves as a symbol of the Scandinavian heritage in the Red River Valley.
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