Nordic Museum (Seattle)
The entrance to the old Nordic Heritage Museum with a sculpture by Finnish artist Eino Romppanen, now closed and replaced by a relocated Nordic Museum
2655 NW Market Street |
|Public transit access||Metro Bus 44|
The Nordic Museum (previously Nordic Heritage Museum) is a museum dedicated to the heritage of Seattle's Nordic immigrants, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish Americans. It was founded in 1980 and is in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The museum serves as a community gathering place and shares Nordic culture by exhibiting art and objects, preserving collections,and providing educational and cultural experiences.
The museum was originally known as the 'Nordic Heritage Museum' and was located in a red brick building in a predominantly residential part of Ballard. This building had housed the Daniel Webster Elementary School from 1907 to 1979, at which time low student enrolment led to its closure. In 2018, the museum was renamed the 'Nordic Museum' and moved into a new 57,000-square-foot (5,300 m2) building on NW Market Street in Ballard. This building, commissioned by the Museum, opened May 5, 2018, and was dedicated by Icelandic president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Danish crown princess Mary.
The non-profit museum's mission is to share "Nordic culture with people of all ages and backgrounds by exhibiting art and objects, preserving collections, providing educational and cultural experiences, and serving as a community gathering place." The founder and long-time director Marianne Forssblad retired in 2007. Eric Nelson followed her as executive director and Janet Rauscher became chief curator in 2008. In 2012, Lizette Gradén became the chief curator.
The museum published the NHM Historical Journal on a quarterly basis until 2011. In 2013 the museum published its first edition of the annual magazine Nordic Kultur.
The museum has also published books including Voices of Ballard and Beyond: Stories of Immigrants and Their Descendants in the Pacific Northwest published in 2012.
The Nordic Museum contains a Cultural Resource Center, which includes the Walter Johnson Memorial Library which was founded in 1980. As of 2011 it held 15500 books. It specializes in books published in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. Its special collection includes the Gordon Tracie Music Collection and the Vanishing Generations Oral History Project. The Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Collection (formerly the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library) was founded in 1995. As of 2011 it contained 3000 audio/visual materials, 4000 music scores, 2500 books, and 40 periodical subscriptions. It focuses on folk customs, traditional dance, traditional music, folk art, and folk attire for Nordic cultures. Its special collections include the Gordon Ekvall Tracie History Collection, the Nordiska Folkdancers Collection, and the Skandia Folkdance Society Collection.
As part of the long term exhibits, there are five ethnic galleries, one for each country, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, as well a gallery, "Dream of America", describing Nordic emigration to the Pacific Northwest. There is also a temporary gallery space.
- Dream of America
- Folk Art Galleries
- Fishing Gallery
- Logging Gallery
- Iceland Room
- Norway Room
- Denmark Room
- Finland Room
- Sweden Room
- Danish Modern Design (May 16 – August 31, 2014)
- The Color of Time: Ballard from Dusk to Dawn (September 19 – November 16, 2014)
- Odin’s Eye (October 10 – November 9, 2014)
- Imaging the Arctic: Maria Coryell-Martin, Kristin Laidre & Finnish photographer Tiina Itkonen (December 12, 2014 – February 22, 2015)
- Past (Since 2005)
- Pull, Twist, Blow: Transforming the Kingdom of Glass (December 13, 2013 - April 26, 2014)
- Dressing Swedish: From Hazelius to Salander (September 13 – November 10, 2013)
- Eino - 50 Years of Making Sculptures (September 27 – December 7, 2013)
- Ørnulf Opdahl – Mood Paintings of the North (June 28 - September 1, 2013)
- Scissors for a Brush (March 22 - June 16, 2013)
- Bad Art? 1,000 Birch Board Pictures from Sweden (November 30, 2012 – March 3, 2013)
- The Impression of Amundsen: Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition 1910–1912 (January 18 – March 3, 2013)
- To me there’s no other choice — Raoul Wallenberg 1912-2012 (December 4, 2012 – January 13, 2013)
- Eight Seasons in Sápmi, the Land of the Sámi People (August 31 – November 4, 2012)
- Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation (May 25 – August 19, 2012)
- Celebrating 75 Years of the Seattle Weavers’ Guild (March 9 – May 6, 2012)
- Here and There: Contemporary Nordic-American Ceramics (March 9 – May 6, 2012)
- Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer (December 9, 2011 – February 5, 2012)
- The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank (December 2, 2011 – February 19, 2012)
- Nordic Fashion Biennale: Looking Back to Find our Future (September 30 – November 13, 2011)
- 17 Swedish Designers (June 3 – August 21, 2011)
- Vessels of the Heart: Fairbanks at Arabia / Cushing and Salmenhaara at Alfred (March 4 – May 22, 2011)
- August Werner: Uncommon Traditionalist (December 3, 2010 – February 5, 2011)
- Victor Borge: A Smile is the Shortest Distance (December 3, 2010 – February 5, 2011)
- Lost in Nature: The Architecture of Jarmund / Vigsnaes (September 17 – November 14, 2010)
- 100 Years of Women’s Voices and Action in Finland (September 10 – November 14, 2010)
- Somebody’s Grandma (July 9 – September 5, 2010)
- Sweden from Above: Photographs by Lars Bygdemark (April 30 – June 27, 2010)
- Ray Jensen (February 19 – April 18, 2010)
- Ennesbo (December 4, 2009 – February 7, 2010)
- From Colony to Community: The Story of New Sweden (October 14, 2009 – February 17, 2010)
- Maria Friberg (September 18 – November 15, 2009)
- Nordics and Seattle’s First World’s Fair: Celebrating the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (June 12 – Sept 6, 2009)
- My Paradise: 100 Years of Finnish Architects’ Summer Homes (April 17 – May 31, 2009)
- Knitting Along the Viking Trail (February 6 - April 5, 2009)
- Faces of Copenhagen: Photographs by Itzick Lev (November 14, 2008 - February 8, 2009)
- Skude 360 Degrees: Paintings by Severin Haines (December 5, 2008 - January 25, 2009)
- Vastinparit – Counterparts: Photographs by Jari Arffman (October 3 - November 16, 2008)
- The Latvians: Fifty Years in the State of Washington (October 14 - November 9, 2008)
- Northwest Designer Craftsmen: Nordic Roots
- Norwegian Resettlement of Jewish Refugees after World War II
- Maria Coryell-Martin: An Expeditionary Artist in Greenland
- Eliot O’Hara: Watercolors of Norway
- Caryl Utigard: Birds of Iceland
- Facing Climate Change
- Roland Pantze: Painter of Sami Life
- Kolmenkertainen Suomalainen: Three Times Finish (November 30, 2007 - February 3, 2008)
- Nordic Spirit: Early Icelandic Settlements in B.C. & Point Roberts (December 13, 2007 - January 31, 2008)
- Reminiscences: Icelandic Wood Sculpture Past and Present (October 5 - November 11, 2007)
- Elegant Explorations: The Designs of Phillip Jacobson (August 10 - September 23, 2007)
- Absolutely Swedish: The photography of Bengt Nilsson & Johan Wedenstrom (August 10 - September 23, 2007)
- Three Norwegian Artists: Jonny Andvik, Dagfinn Bakke, Elling Reitan (June 15 - July 30, 2007)
- You, I and Fairy Tale – Sa, Ma, ja Satu (April 6 - June 3, 2007)
- Immigrants: Graphic Images from Funen Graphic Workshop (January 26 – March 25, 2007)
- Tapestry on the Edge (December 1, 2006 – January 14, 2007)
- Henrik Ibsen – 100th Anniversary Art Exhibit (December 1–20, 2006)
- Uncommon Threads (October 6 - November 12, 2006)
- The Promise of happiness – paintings by Mark Thompson (August 17 – October 8, 2006)
- Kiln Cast Glass (June 23 – September 24, 2006)
- Surface Stances
- Dream Time Fairy Photo Collages
- Clarence E. “Pete” Pedersen (191402006) A Ballardite for 91 years: His Life and Work
- The Landscapes of Clyde Aspevig: A Closer Look (April 14 – June 11, 2006)
- Swift and Slow: New Drawings by Sol Kjøk
- Memories and Moods – Norway Revisited
- Northern Glow – Sculptural Pewter
- Nexus: Paintings by Karl Momen (donated by Museum President Allan Osberg in 2006) (February 17 - April 2, 2006)
- Boundary Crossings: Temporal Dialogues in Finnish Landscape Photography
- Parallel Paths: Two Generations in Art (December 9, 2005- February 5, 2006)
- Crabbing in the Bering Sea: Photographs from the F/V Rollo 2003-2005
- Sacral Space: Modern Finnish Churches
- Laila Carlsen
- The Sami Reindeer People of Alaska
A large part of the museum’s focus is offering programming to educate the public about Scandinavian culture, including a craft school, adult and kids programs and teacher resources.
- Craft School
- Nordic Knitting Café
- Nordic Woodcarving
- Nordic Cooking
- Bunad Sewing
- Adult Programs
- Language Classes
- Nordic American Voices
- Kids & Parents
- Craft Projects
- Kids’ Corner
- Music for Kids
- Outreach Trunks
- Nordic Adventures
- Tour Materials
The museum holds frequent events that further its mission of creating a community gathering space and educating the public about Nordic culture and heritage, including:
- Concerts, such as the Mostly Nordic Chamber Music Series and Smörgåsbord (18th season in 2013)
- Exhibition openings and artist tours
Each year, the Nordic Museum holds two major community events: Viking Days and Yulefest.
- Viking Days began in 1984 as Tivoli Days and was held each July. In 2008 the two-day event's name was changed to Viking Days and in 2011 the event moved to mid August. The event features food and craft vendors, Scandinavian music, and a Viking Encampment. In 2014, Viking Days will be held on August 16 & 17.
- Yulefest predates the museum itself, and is held the Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving each year. This event is a Nordic Christmas celebration with craft vendors, Nordic food and music, and Christmas traditions on display. In 2014, Yulefest will be held on November 22 & 23.
- Kiley, Brendan (April 30, 2018). "'Mad dash to the finish' as Seattle's new Nordic Museum prepares for its grand debut". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
- Mithun, Inc. The Nordic Museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle
- Bartley, Nancy (April 30, 2007). "Director of Nordic Heritage Museum returning to Sweden". Seattle Times. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Sturdivant, Peggy (May 18, 2009). "At Large in Ballard: Capturing the voices". Ballard News-Tribune. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- American Library Directory. 2 (64th ed.). Information Today, Inc. 2011–2012. pp. 2568–2576. ISBN 978-1-57387-411-3.
- Sheila, Farr (March 2, 2006). "Wagner-inspired paintings donated to Nordic museum". Seattle Times. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
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