Nordic Museum receives national recognition

Natural Resources Management Act to designate Seattle’s Nordic Museum as “National”

National Nordic Museum

Photo courtesy of the Nordic Museum
Seattle’s Nordic Museum, formerly the Nordic Heritage Museum, moved into its new purpose-built building in the heavily Nordic neighborhood of Ballard last May.

Meghan Walker
My Ballard

The U.S. Senate on Feb. 12 passed a bill to give Seattle’s Nordic Museum a national designation. The bill, driven by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, D–Wash., will designate the museum as the National Nordic Museum. The legislation is part of the Natural Resources Management Act, a broad package legislation of 110 bills.

Front and center of the legislation is the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Additionally, there’s legislation for Yakima River Basin restoration, new technology for fighting wildfires through the use of drones and GPS, improving volcano monitoring systems, and designating 1.5 million acres of land along I-90 from Ellensburg, Wash., to Seattle as the Pacific Northwest’s first National Heritage Area.

The Nordic’s designation is to recognize the museum’s work to preserve and educate the public about Nordic history, culture, and art. It’s the only museum in the United States that showcases the impact and influence of Nordic values and innovation in contemporary society and tells the story of 12,000 years of Nordic history and culture, across all five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the autonomous areas of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the Åland Islands, and the Sápmi region of Northern Europe.

“The Nordic Museum is a capstone of a long story about Nordic heritage in Seattle,” Cantwell said in a statement. “Establishing the National Nordic Museum will help support local tourism and drive economic development, as well as help further preserve our region’s Nordic history, and maritime and fishing heritage.”

Eric Nelson, CEO of the Nordic, says the designation, “acknowledges the hard work and investment that the local community has made in creating a world-class museum.” He also said it will be a big boost for tourism in Ballard, will help the museum generate support from the private sector, and will “stimulate economic and cultural bonds between the Nordic region and Washington state, and indeed the entire country.”

The bill will now move to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass quickly.

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted with permission.

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This article originally appeared in the March 8, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.