In Trunks, Hearts, and Hands Program in La Crosse, Wisconsin

The heirloom trunks that once held an immigrant’s belongings now hold their stories. Explore these stories at a program and luncheon presented by the La Crosse Area Friends of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum on February 12 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The event will be at the Radisson La Crosse Hotel at 200 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, Wisconsin, and will include the program In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Norwegian Immigrants Brought to the United States, by Jennifer Kovarik, Registrar and Youth Educator at Vesterheim.

Everyone is welcome! Tickets are $30 for museum members and $35 for non-members. Reservations are required by February 1 and can be made by contacting Vesterheim’s Development Events Coordinator Karla Brown at 563-382-9681, x107, or

Norwegian immigrant trunks are often cherished family heirlooms, but they also serve as a way to begin thinking about immigrant experiences themselves. Between 1825 and 1980, nearly one million Norwegians left for new lives in America. What factors motivated people to leave family and their homeland to start a life in a new place? What did they choose to take with them on their voyage? What challenges did they face during their journeys and as they settled in a new land?

Using photos of trunks from the museum’s collection and stories related to those trunks, Jennifer will consider these questions and more. Guests are encouraged to bring and share photographs of their immigrant trunks and to wear their Norwegian sweaters or Norwegian costumes (bunader).

The luncheon will include seared Atlantic salmon topped with spinach and hollandaise sauce, served with Yukon mashed potatoes and green top carrots; or olive oil herbed linguini (egg free) with green asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, and baby tomatoes. All meals include freshly baked dinner rolls, coffee, and tea.