On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

 

Living room of replica home from Telemark

 

 

1890 carved corner cupboard

 

festive national costume "bunad"

Norwegian winter transportation!

outfit from 99th infantry battalion at Camp Hale, Colorado


Rainy day. Good time to visit the Vesterheim - National Norwegian American Museum. Vesterheim means western home in Norwegian. It was referred to as such in many letters that the immigrants sent home. The reasons for so many Norwegians leaving home were many. Improved sanitation, the smallpox vaccination, and improved diet made for a healthier population which led to overpopulation. Opportunities for farm ownership declined. Even laborers and craftspeople had a hard time finding work. The American frontier appealed to those willing to work hard for a better life. Mid 19th century the trip from Norway on a cargo ship converted for passengers took 14 weeks.

Wood was abundant in Norway. Woodworking skills were necessary to survive. Furniture was handsomely decorated. The museum has a replica of a mid 19th century home from the Telemark area. It was large and the furniture was fantastic.

In 1877, Norwegian Americans in Decorah began collecting and preserving objects that told their immigrant story. That collection has grown into one of the most comprehensive museums in the U.S. dedicated to a single immigrant group.

On the third floor there is an exhibit dedicated to the 99th Infantry Battalion activated in 1942 and trained to liberate Norway from Nazi control. They trained using skiis and snowshoes in Hale, Colorado.



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