When did you last stop in to see what’s new at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum? If being short on time or money has kept you away, just look for the bright green FREE TODAY flag on the first Thursday of every month, and come on in!
A short visit to a great museum can be very satisfying. Just ask 5-year-old Emma and her mother Deborah, who recently visited Vesterheim after school on a Free First Thursday and had a rich experience. Deborah notes that “Emma, a Kindergartner, was able to note the letters F-R-E-E on the flag, so a bit of reading practice happened as we walked there.”
There’s a lot to see at the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single ethnic group, but visitors can have an enjoyable and enlightening experience without spending a huge amount of time. The museum’s free full-color visitor guide includes suggestions for what to see in an hour, as well as floor plans of the whole museum and lots of information and provocative questions for an interesting self-guided tour.
Deborah says her daughter’s attention span means “we can only spend about 20 minutes to keep it fun and fresh.” During their visit, Emma “initiated looking at the sweaters, weaving, and other folk art, and even things in the Skål!: Scandinavian Spirits exhibit. Then, having seen it from above, she wanted to go to the ship from below, and afterward, led us into the ‘Norwegian house.’ She was intrigued by everything. We would have stayed longer but had to go grocery shopping!”
Vesterheim has three galleries dedicated to temporary exhibitions with a variety of themes represented, in addition to extensive permanent exhibits that tell the unfolding story of the Norwegian-American experience. New exhibitions open every few months throughout each year, so repeat visits often reveal something fresh and new!
One new exhibition is opening December 3rd: World on the Wall: Globetrotting through Vesterheim’s Fine Art Collection. Skål! Scandinavian Spirits is closing soon (ends December 31st.) Also on view (until April 23, 2017) is 50 Years of Folk Art, celebrating a half century of folk art education at Vesterheim!
Colder weather brings opportunities to explore indoor activities, and a visit to Vesterheim is a wonderful option for all ages. Remember to look for the green FREE TODAY flag to start your museum adventure!
Free First Thursday is coming up on December 1st, and will continue in 2017, starting on Thursday, January 5th. Vesterheim’s winter hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily November - April. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.)