Ballard’s New Nordic Museum

The National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA moved from an old elementary school building into a new museum space on neighboring community Ballard’s waterfront on May 5, 2018.  Ruth and I hadn’t been to the old one in several years.  It wasn’t that good and always seemed temporary.  Now I know why.  It was.  This new facility is so new that our GPS took us to the remodeling Daniel Webster School in a residential area of Ballard, so Ruth and I had to find the new museum at 2655 NW Market Street.  It was well worth the effort.

The great new 2-level facility has expanded the meaning of Nordic to include not just Norway, Denmark and Sweden but also Finland, Iceland, Sápmi, the home of the Sami people, Åland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.  There is lots of info about all of them and bountiful artifacts from their different cultures.  For example, I learned that there is no real word for “please” in the Danish language, while the global sea level is rising Finland’s landmass is also rising up to .35 inches each year, and most of Sápmi lies north of the Arctic Circle.  This I learned on the 1st level where there is a Visiting Exhibit Gallery, an orientation film about Nordic culture, and an entire Viking ship outside.  The Viking rowboat inside has the horse masthead seen below.  Upstairs is more traditionally museum-like.  It’s all excellent.

Why is a Nordic Culture Museum appropriate in Seattle?  Washington State’s population is 12.5% Nordic heritage.  Minnesota’s is more than 32%.  Between 1820 and 1920, 2.1 million Scandinavians came to America to put down roots.  When this museum explores Nordic culture, it notes that nature and land use are both important to all Scandinavians.  That’s why so many of them emigrated to Washington’s Skagit Valley to grow tulips.  They have influenced all aspects of American culture.  English words of Scandinavian origin include bylaw, shingle, and guest.  But not “please”, which is of Latin derivation.  As the new National Nordic Museum says, “Immigrants to the United States brought these values with them and left an imprint wherever they settled.”


ps  That red and white thing is a Danish bobbin lace pillow and the animals are Icelandic sheep.


About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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