The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle is the only museum in the United States which recognizes the contribution of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It is particularly appropriate for the Museum to be located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle where so many Scandinavian immigrants settled by or before 1900, and where their cultural contributions such as coffee-drinking are still part of life in Seattle today.
The first floor of the Nordic Heritage Museum begins with a walk-through of the story of immigration. The journey of Scandinavian immigrants took them by ship to the landing at Ellis Island/New York City, and then many traveled by train to the Midwest. Some tried their hand at farming there before moving on to the Pacific Northwest, including the streets of Ballard, a town which boomed with shingle mills and with small businesses such as bakeries, blacksmithing, and boarding houses for mill workers.
The Museum’s second and third floors have exhibits dedicated to the logging and fishing industries of the Pacific Northwest, to the folk arts, tools and furniture featured in Scandinavian life, and to each of the five Nordic countries. Some of the lifestyle of Scandinavians has been interwoven in the culture of Seattle, such as our fondness for boating, book-reading, coffee, skiing, and warm sweaters.
Put it on your “historic do-list” to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum at 3014 NW 67th Street, open Tuesday through Sunday except on some holidays. There is free admission every First Thursday of the Month and the Museum will be open until 8 PM on those evenings. Check out the events list, too. The Museum has an array of concerts, lectures and classes in Scandinavian arts, knitting, dancing and woodwork.