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 limestone wall dates back to the 1850s, and Vesterheim wanted to showcase this historic stone as a way to remember the past. It will be visible within the new building. The first step in its preservation was to tuckpoint, which was done by local contractors Berger Masonry. Limestone has important ties to the Decorah region, which is in the heart of the Driftless area known for its limestone outcroppings.

This wall also serves as an important connection to Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center and there will be doorway connections on all three floors of the buildings. The first floor will be an entryway into the Museum Store as seen in the video. At this point, the contractors have broken through the wall, created the lintel at the top for structural support, and are framing out the doorway.

This project is possible because of our generous supporters! We’re excited about how the Commons will serve visitors, both in person and online. 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.