Friday, July 13, 2018

Nordic Museum

The community of Ballard in Seattle has always been notable for its Scandinavian, or Nordic, flavor. Located near the sound and on  Salmon Bay and the ship canal, it was originally a fishing community. Nordic immigrants were attracted to this community and have a rich history here.

For economic and opportunity reasons, Nordic peoples began their great migration to America in 1825, continuing through the 1920's. 
The new Nordic Museum recently opened in Ballard, so we organized a field trip with several of our retired teacher friends who have Scandinavian ties, as do Tom and I. 

As I write this, DeDe is celebrating her 91st birthday. She is recovering nicely from a knee replacement, but then developed tendinitis in her "good" ankle, so we borrowed a wheel chair so she could get around more comfortably. She reluctantly allowed herself to go for a ride. 
 The Nordic peoples were great boat builders. 
 The museum has artifacts from the past: things brought from the old country, and articles made by immigrants who settled here in the PNW.

The museum  traces the immigrants to America, focusing on their contributions to our blended cultures and industries, and even very modern contributions to the arts.

Jan is standing under a fiber arts piece in the current art exhibit in the gallery.

 We couldn't decide what this is, but it's interesting. 

 The building itself has dramatic architecture. There's an old viking style bout out in the courtyard. 
 A central hall is called the Fjord Gallery, with bridges between galleries.  
 A video display shows on a large screen in the "birch wood", with "stone" seats.  

I love the Viking style carvings and designs. 
Carl Linnaea collected this specimen we know as Twin Flower in 1732. Linnaea was the Swedish scientist who created modern taxonomy, the classification of plants and animals. This plant's scientific name is Linnaea borealis, the only plant named after him. 
This stave church model reminded me of the wonderful examples we saw in our travels in Norway and Sweden. 
This reproduction of a rune stone is inscribed with a dedication from a wife to her husband who "went to Jerusalem and died in Greece". 
Outside the window, boats line the canal. 
Since we spent such a long time here, of course we had to have lunch. 

Here's mine, a Nordic open faced sandwich. 
My Swedish/Norwegian grandparents eventually settled in Oregon, where they were loggers. 
Nordic regions had their own traditional festival dresses. This one is from Dalarna, where my paternal grandfather was born. 

We had a good time studying exhibits and remembering what we saw and learned while traveling in Scandinavia. 

We also learned quite a bit about the egalitarianism of the socialist democracy form of government in the Nordic countries, There is a lot we could learn from them. 


  1. The list never ends of things the two of you can find to get into. Looks like a very interesting museum.

  2. You took us on a wonderful tour of the museum. That is one of the reasons I love to visit different blogs to see and visit places that I will never be able to. It was a joy to visit your blog today.

  3. I love those boats especially, and the sandwich looks scrumptious! :-)

  4. Really enjoyed the trip into a world I was totally unaware of. Very interesting.

  5. I never knew Seattle has a Scandinavian and Nordic flavor. Interesting museum and I want to know if you ate that whole "sandwich."

    1. The sandwich was really quite small, not as it looks in the photo. It was delicious but not very filling. I needed a cookie follow up. :-)

  6. would love to visit this museum as I have icelandic ancestors and was married to a swede...

  7. This museum celebrates a very rich culture. We have a local group of dancers and the traditional dances are beautiful. Not all of our dancers are Nordic.

  8. Having a Nordic name myself and coming from an EU birthplace I was always interested in Scandanavian things, their royals, their foods and culture. I agree the way they try to care for their population has merits that stand out as very beneficial. Opennfaced sandwiched are best on hardy rye breads. The toast bread is too soft. Also most EU people use cutlery to eat sandwiches and even pizza slices. Small bread board were common for that purpose and each person would have one to eat from it. Nice museum.

  9. Very interesting. My sister would be very interested in seeing this museum. She did an exchange year in Sweden as a college student and she married a Swede. As far as I know, we have no Swedish ancestry but someday I may do one of those ancestry DNA tests.

  10. Looks like an interesting museum and a wonderful way to spend the day with your retired teacher friends!


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