Vesterheim reconnects with Rochester

Walter and Louise Hanson

Lori Ann Reinhall

On Sunday, Oct. 13, Walter and Louise Hanson of The Nordic Shop in Rochester, Minn., graciously opened up their home to introduce Rochester residents to the staff from Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center in Decorah, Iowa. It was an afternoon mingle to give everyone the chance to learn about Vesterheim’s exciting new programs. Rochester is home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic and only a little more than 1 1/2 hours from Decorah, making it the perfect day trip for residents and visitors alike. Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall was on hand to help with the sandwich-making, meet with everyone, and capture the event in photos.

Consulting with the cook

Vesterheim - Rochester

Guest chef and food blogger Kirsti Bissell of True North Kitchen ( discusses the details of how to make a truly delicious open-face sandwich.

Cake fit for a celebration

Vesterheim - Rochester

No Norwegian celebraiton is complete without an ekte norsk kransekake—with flags, of course!

Preparing for a party

Vesterheim - Rochester

Chef Kirsti Bissell (left) was on hand to supervise the smørbrød makers for the day. Here Dawn and Eric Milliner are hard at work.

Stamp of approval

Vesterheim - Rochester

The president & CEO of Vesterheim, Chris Johnson, came in the proper attire and gave his discerning stamp of approval to the event.

The perfect host

Vesterheim - Rochester

Host Walter Hanson (left) takes a well-deserved break in the kitchen with his guests, Eric and Dawn Milliner.

Dressing up with style

Vesterheim - Rochester

Hostess Louise Hanson (right) and her co-worker, Emilie Pentico, from The Nordic Shop dressed for the occasion in the limited edition “Podium” seater from Dale of Norway.

Smørbrød, anyone?

Vesterheim - Rochester

A bountiful feast was offered up to guests, featuring chef Bissells’s open-face sandwiches, made with her home-baked artisan bread.

All photos courtesy of Lori Ann Reinhall

This article originally appeared in the November 29, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.