Vesterheim Commons Contractors

Vesterheim gives special thank you to the companies who helped bring Vesterheim Commons to fruition! Their dedication, expertise, and hard work are evident in the beautiful structure and details. ArchitectsSnøhetta, Oslo, Norway & New York City, NYBNIM, Des Moines, IA Construction ManagerMcGough Construction, Des Moines, IA EngineersMeyer Borgman Johnson,Minneapolis, MNMorrissey Engineering, Omaha, NE ConsultantsARUP, New […]

Vesterheim Commons Dedication

What a great celebration of Vesterheim Commons! Enjoy a commemorative booklet here; pictures from a visit with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Anniken Huitfeldt here; and pictures of the public dedication here. Join Vesterheim to celebrate the opening of the new Commons building with numerous activities from September 23-October 1, both onsite and online! […]

Vesterheim Commons Is Open

Contractors continue to make final changes to the Commons building, but the first floor is open daily from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for visitors. Check out the main gathering space and many of the beautiful features! The second and third floors will be open for the public dedication celebration on September 30. Enjoy this gallery of […]

DOUBLE Your Gift to Vesterheim’s Bold Future!

Update: The Nordic Fest Matching Gift Challenge was a HUGE success! Tusen Takk!Thanks to four anonymous matching gift donors and 146 supporters who took up the challenge during Nordic Fest, we were able to raise nearly $210,000 for the Strong Roots | Bold Future, The Campaign to Grow Vesterheim! We are overwhelmed by the generous response.   […]

Vesterheim Commons Landscaping Begins Vesterheim Commons Landscaping Begins Join Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson and see how the outside landscaping around Vesterheim Commons is starting to come together. With paths, patio, and plantings, there will be plenty of spaces to enjoy! Thank you for joining us and supporting this project! We invite you to be part of Vesterheim’s bold […]

Vesterheim Commons Spring Update

Vesterheim Commons Spring Update Vesterheim President/CEO Join Chris Johnson as he walks through the building to give an update on recent progress. You’ll have a good view of the oculus and the new gallery on the second floor. Thank you for joining us and supporting this project! Don’t forget that right now every gift of […]

Vesterheim Commons Collection Access

Vesterheim Commons Collection Access In this update, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson talks with Collection Manager Jennifer Kovarik about the museum’s extensive collection and ways that the Commons will help Vesterheim share it. The third floor will include an area we’re calling the collection access space. Its purpose is to help us better share the collection […]

Vesterheim Commons Exterior Influences

Vesterheim Commons Exterior Inspiration In this update, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson talks about the exterior design influences used in Vesterheim Commons, as well as a general overview of the outdoor space. The concrete walls on the back of the building were suggested by Snøhetta designers and inspired by Erling Viksjø, who came to prominence in Norway […]

Vesterheim Commons Features Wood

Vesterheim Commons Features Wood Greetings from Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson and Vesterheim Chair of Trustees Ruth Schultz! In this update, they talk about all of the beautiful wood that is a prominent element inside Vesterheim Commons. In designing the space, the planners wanted to consider the kind of identity the building would convey. Working with […]

Vesterheim Commons Design Team

Vesterheim Commons Design Team Vesterheim Commons is taking shape on Water Street in Decorah. With 7,600 square feet spread across three levels and almost an acre of surrounding landscaped patio, this building project physically links the past and the future, connects the museum collection to the Folk Art School, and enriches the Vesterheim visitor experience […]

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Need Help Now?

If you want to speak to someone about how you can support Vesterheim’s bold new future, call Diane Wagner or Kim Toussaint.

Diane Wagner: 563-382-9681 x103

Kim Toussaint: 563-382-9681 x105

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.