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 Snøhetta, of course, we included Scandinavian design, but we also looked at where we came from as an organization and what strong elements are in the collection, historic buildings, and surrounding area. There is a lot of wood on the site and it was a natural thing to feature.

An advantage of using wood was that it adds warmth to the space. Also, it helps us with our sustainability goals – how we use energy in the building and what materials are being used to make the building. All the timbers were made nearby in Albert Lea, Minnesota, and were made from Douglas Fir, which is easy to grow and a renewable resource. The timbers came in August and within a month, the whole structure was up and visible for everyone to see.

Watch the video to learn more about all of the wood elements throughout the building.

The planning for this building has been in the works for many year, beginning with the purchase the property when it became available on Water St. Vesterheim is rooted in traditions, but is also looking toward the future. Strong Roots and Bold Future campaign acknowledges that both the past and future are essential. 

We’re grateful that right now every gift of $1000 or more to the campaign will be matched dollar for dollar. We’re on track to complete the project this spring with a formal dedication in September and soft opening this summer. 

Consider making a contribution to this campaign, supporting a legacy that will live on for generations to come. We invite you to be part of Vesterheim’s bold future now by donating here.

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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.