Category Archives: Nordic Heritage Museum

Nordic Lodge Celebrates!

5 nordic flags

The celebration on Saturday May 19th is a special one for Whidbey Nordic Lodge members! Along with celebrating Syttende Mai (17th of May), Norway’s Constitution Day, it will be celebrating its own 17th birthday and the opening of the new Nordic Museum in Ballard.

Festivities will begin at Noon with a lunch and highlighted by Erik Pihl, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Museum.   Erik will tell us all about their grand opening on May 5th – and more!  

A donation of $10 for lunch will be appreciated. RSVP to  the Nordic Lodge at:

The New Nordic Heritage Museum


On February 18th  Erik Pihl, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard,  will  speak at the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge about the Museum’s new building,  scheduled to be completed  in 2018. Erik is seeking to hear and learn how the Nordic Heritage Museum might best benefit our community.

The modern 57,000 sq. ft museum and cultural center will be located in the heart of Ballard. The design is organized around a linear “fjord” that weaves together stories of homeland and the Nordic American experience. Bridges crossing the fjord intensify the experience of migration, connecting Nordic and Nordic American exhibits. A vertically-striated zinc skin will wrap the building exterior; inside, fjord walls will be composed of faceted white planes evoking its glacial origins. Along with the core exhibition galleries, active social areas – cafe, store, auditorium and classrooms – will expand the Museum’s capabilities and audiences.  More about the new museum may be found on their website at

Anyone interested in this program is welcome to attend.
10:00 a.m. Nordic Hall, 63 Jacobs Rd., Coupeville.


The Nordic American Voices Oral History Initiative

Nordic American Voices2At the monthly meeting of the Nordic Lodge on September 17th,  Gordon Strand and Mari-Ann Kind Jackson, from the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, will talk about the Museum’s ongoing Nordic American Voices Oral History Initiative.
The primary focus of Nordic American Voices is to record, using high definition camcorders, the life stories of Nordic American immigrants and their ancestors in the Pacific Northwest. Individuals with stories of WWII experiences in the Nordic countries are also sought out.  To date, more than 550 interviews have been recorded, transcribed, and entered into a searchable database in the Museum’s permanent collection for research.

One book, Voices of Ballard and Beyond, and two documentaries, Under the Clouds of War – Growing up in Occupied Denmark & Norway, and This is my Childhood – Finland at War,  based on the stories graciously shared,  have been published so far. More are certainly to come.

All interested in hearing more about this exciting oral history initiative are welcome to attend the September Nordic Lodge meeting!  10:00 a.m., at the Nordic Hall.

The Nordic Heritage Museum & Viking Days

21 Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge members & friends were off by chartered bus (Whidbey Seatac Shuttle & Charter) to the Nordic Heritage Museum’s 27th annual Viking Days festival on July 17th — and ya betcha they had a good time! For some, it was their first visit to this wonderful museum and annual event, and the festivities (and edibles such as Swedish meatballs, Norwegian lefse, & Danish æbleskiver) nicely complimented a walk through the museum’s exhibits.

Viking Arts & Crafts – weaving, spinning, woodcarving, cooking –  and live Viking battles were of particular interest to many, and the music on the Nordic Spirit Stage seemed to please all.  The Ravenstead Vikings were also on hand all weekend clad in their authentic costumes,  showing Viking Days visitors all aspects of Viking life in their small encampment.

Particularly impressive within the Museum was the new exhibit Somebody’s Grandma, which will run through September 5th. This exhibit explores themes of heritage and identity through first person interviews on video screens throughout the exhibit rooms, where portrait photographs of those interviewed are also displayed. It takes some time and perhaps demands a return visit to appreciate this exhibit fully, but any amount of time spent viewing it is time well spent. Also impressive as well as being very enjoyable on this special weekend was a performance by Living Voices. This organization ‘brings life to history’ through dynamic solo performances uniquely combined with film and sound that turn history into a moving, personal journey. Performer Rachel Atkins treated us to the story a Swedish family’s immigration to the Pacific Northwest in the early 1900’s through the voice of Julia Berg, one of the young adults in the family. This production –Northwest Passages – was created by drawing heavily on resources available from the archives of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

More information about this great Museum may be found on their website.