An Experience for Everyone

The design of Vesterheim Commons was driven by programming that inspires community engagement and emphasizes an inclusive and accessible cultural gathering space where everyone can enjoy Vesterheim. From the moment visitors arrive, they will be greeted with easy navigation and accessibility.

ADA parking spaces are available near the front door. The curb extension on Water Street provides easy access to the front door.

Wide doorways and open floor plans have been thoughtfully included in the entire building design. Door operators are provided at all entrances, and elevator access is available to all floors.

The elevator itself exceeds ADA requirements to allow for more than one wheelchair and is equipped with two doors for easier entering and exiting.

Public spaces and corridors are more gracious to allow for wheelchairs to travel side by side and to facilitate space for sign language.

A handicapped accessible restroom (66 sq ft) is on the ground floor, located next to the entrance from Heritage Park to allow access for museum and park visitors alike.

The plaza and pathway to the museum from Heritage Park are a smooth surface with a clear delineation between the site paths and the surrounding landscape.

Other features that consider the visually impaired and people with neurocognitive disabilities include contrasting floor and wall color and design; floor sheen at an appropriate level to reduce reflectivity from light fixtures; contrasting lavatory counters and floors; roller shades to reduce glare; dimmable lighting; and soft and natural finishes and materials.

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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.