Norwegian-American Cultural Center Opens in Minneapolis

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Norwegian-American Cultural Center Opens in Minneapolis


Category: Culture / Lifestyle

There are more than 865,000 Minnesotans who claim Norwegian ancestry, and there are hundreds of Norwegian heritage organizations in the state.

Now they have a home.

Norway House, a nonprofit cultural education center founded in 2004, celebrated its grand opening Friday, with visitors touring its new facility in South Minneapolis.

The 12,000-square-foot Norway House Education Center is located in a former Wings Financial Credit Union building at 913 E. Franklin Ave. The bright blue building includes an art gallery, gift shop and coffee shop managed by Ingebretsen’s, the East Lake Street Scandinavian market.

Norway House also has plans to build a 15,000-square-foot conference and event center adjacent to the education center and Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church on the same block in the South Minneapolis neighborhood that was once dominated by Norwegian immigrants.

“We want to be a link, a bridge, to contemporary Norway, without giving away our immigrant base,” said Linda Mona, past board chairwoman of Norway House, whose mission is much like that of the long-standing Swedish American Institute, also located in South Minneapolis.

“We’re very excited and proud to open this first phase of Norway House,” said Jon Pederson, the current chairman of Norway House. “Now we have a national center to help connect our country and Norway on many levels.

Along with the grand opening, the Norway House unveiled its Norwegian Threads exhibit, featuring art from two Norwegian artists, to be on display throughout the summer.

Dressmaker Lise Skjak Braek and painter Anne Langsholt Apaydinli’s works are inspired by traditional folk patterns.

“Lise’s attention to detail and use of exquisite fabrics illustrates the tradition of Norwegian folk dresses,” Mona said. “And Anne’s beautiful paintings are a perfect complement to the dresses.”

Braek was on vacation when she was invited to be a part of Norway House’s grand opening, but a little more consideration made her excited to travel to Minneapolis.

“I thought ‘Minneapolis? This is another Norway, it would be lovely to go,’ ” she said. “So I became very enthusiastic to go.”

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

Published: May 21, 2024