Leading The Way To Vesterheim’s Future

Campaign Council Members

Dan Alsaker
Richard and Nancy Enstad
Jon and Mary Hart
Kirsten Roverud Heine
  and David Heine
Don Hoganson
Maren Anderson Johnson
Kirk and Renee Mies
Ruth Christenson Sorenson
O. Jay and Pat Tomson

Vesterheim Trustees

Dan Alsaker
Carol Birkland
Jansen Dahl
Lindsay Erdman
Kari Espinosa
Daniel Fretheim
Louise Hanson
Maren Johnson
Gayle Kvenvold
Jane Kemp
Brian Larson
Kirk Mies
Heather Miller
Bradley (BJ) Nichols
Martha Nielsen
Kenneth Nordan
Elizabeth Platou
Lorie Reins-Schweer
Rachel Reitan
Brian Rude
Walter Rugland
Ruth Ann Schultz
Ruth Sorenson
Craig Trygstad

We Are Ready!

It’s been stunning, actually. While Vesterheim was closed to in-person visits and classes during the pandemic, we experienced an unexpected but deeply satisfying connection with audiences from across the globe through our digital portals.  We see with new eyes what Vesterheim means to you. 

This experience reaffirms our pre-pandemic pledge to create new, engaging, and exciting experiences for museum members and visitors. Trustees and Staff returned to our roots to look again at our core mission to learn what that mission requires of us today and into the future. We clearly recognize the unleashed potential that Vesterheim possesses.

The vision that emerged in the review of our mission and identity challenges us to unlock that potential, to open up the collection so it can better tell its amazing stories and create compelling exhibits and programs. And all the while having fun with Norwegian arts and culture.

To live into what we know Vesterheim can be, we need a unified campus that is welcoming, coherent, and connected. Indoor and outdoor. New and historic. Past and future. In-person and online. This unified campus includes the reimagined Heritage Park and a new three-level addition, Vesterheim Commons.

We are ready for this. Our Trustees and Staff are. Our financial advisors and planning partners and volunteers are. We believe you are ready, too.

Together we will create this bold future. Let’s join together in creating an amazing museum experience. Invest in the Strong Roots | Bold Future Campaign to Grow Vesterheim.

Ruth Ann Schutz
Board Chair

Chris Johnson
President/CEO

Steering Committee Members

Bob Hotz
Chris Johnson
Liz Platou
Ruth Christenson Sorenson
Kim Toussaint
Craig W. Trygstad
Diane Wagner

Task Force Members

Brenda Carlson
Birgitte Christianson
Vicki Donhowe
Pete Espinosa
Linda Gebel
Jon Hart
Eivind Heiberg
Kirsten Roverud Heine
Richard Hemp
Don Hoganson
Maren Anderson Johnson
Scott Lindblom
Thomas Mannes
Kate Martinson
Kirk Mies
Suzanne Mineck
Linda Brekke Mona
Benji Nichols
Neal Nottleson
Robert Paddock
Walter S. Rugland
Mike Schmidt
Ruth Christenson Sorenson
Martha A. Taylor
O. Jay Tomson
Joann Voltmer

A Re-imagined, Open, and Accessible Heritage Park

The first major project of the Strong Roots | Bold Future campaign is the re-imagining of Heritage Park, the outdoor exhibit and program space for Vesterheim’s 12 historic buildings. Heritage Park opened in summer 2021. Guided by the Snøhetta master plan, Heritage Park has been designed by Damon Farber Landscape Architects to be an accessible and open public space reminiscent of Norway’s forests and glades. Here, people can connect with one another amidst tangible historic buildings set in nature.

Beginning at the plaza that depicts the 1825 voyage of immigrants on the ship Restauration, meandering pathways will guide visitors around gentle glades, past a community amphitheater, and through the expanded parkwhere history comes alive by experiencing how Norwegian pioneers lived.

Special care has been given to create an environmentally sensitive community park with native plantings and woodlands appropriate to this Driftless Area of America’s Midwest, permeable pavers, and sustainable stormwater management.