Vesterheim Commons – Exhibit Gallery

Vesterheim Commons – Exhibit Gallery Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson is joined in this video by Collection Assistant Lauryn Johnson to take a look at the second floor exhibit gallery. The central feature of this area that you can see starting to take shape is the oculus in the center looking down on the first floor. […]

Vesterheim Commons – Preparing the Public Gathering Space

Vesterheim Commons – Preparing the Public Gathering Space In this update, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson is joined by Chad Goodsen, Field Superintendent for McGough Construction. Chad is the eyes and ears of the project, making sure there’s safety protocol and that the operation is running smoothly. They talk about some of the features in the […]

Vesterheim Commons – Digital Studio

Vesterheim Commons – Digital Studio In this behind-the-scenes tour of the Commons building progress, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson and Director of Folk Art Education Andrew Ellingsen talk about the future digital production studio and how it will connect to online programs and offerings. This space wasn’t originally envisioned during the early planning phases but grew […]

Vesterheim Commons Windows

Window Designs In this video update on January 20, Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson and Associate Director of Development Kim Toussaint talk about the special features of the windows in the Vesterheim Commons project. If you’ve driven by the construction, you’ve seen the large three-story window that looks out over Water St. and depending on the […]

Snøhetta Features Vesterheim Commons

The Commons, Vesterheim’s new building project, is now a featured project on Snøhetta’s website! This building is part of a master plan that Snøhetta completed for Vesterheim in 2019. Learn more about the project in the Snøhetta article here. This article was also featured by The Architect’s Newspaper here, Archinect News here, and ArchDaily here. For […]

Vesterheim Commons – Making Connections

Vesterheim Commons – Making Connections Work continues on the Vesterheim Commons building project. This video is from a Vesterheim Commons live online tour recorded on January 13, 2023. Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson talks about the original limestone wall that is incorporated into the new building and the doorway connections to Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center. The […]

Vesterheim Commons Updates

Work is progressing quickly on Vesterheim Commons! Everyday, something new is happening with Vesterheim Commons. The contractors are working quickly as the weather cools and are on schedule to open the building next spring. We are thrilled with each step and love seeing visitors stop on the street to watch what’s happening. We will continue […]

Hanson Family Foundation Gift

Vesterheim Receives Gift from Hanson Family Foundation for Commons Project Vesterheim is very pleased to announce a $1.5 million gift from the Hanson Family Foundation for Vesterheim Commons. The Hanson Family Foundation was established in 1971 by John K. and Luise V. Hanson as a way to give back to their community and to enhance […]

Vesterheim Commons Timbers

Progress continues on the Vesterheim Commons building project with the installation of the timbers! The building structure uses mass timber frame construction, and Alamco Wood Products of Albert Lea, Minnesota, manufactured the components. Vesterheim Commons will be only the second building in Iowa to use mass timber components, and the construction pays homage to Norway’s […]

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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.