In Trunks, Hearts, and Hands Program in Rochester, Minnesota

The heirloom trunks that once held an immigrant’s belongings now hold their stories. Explore these stories at a luncheon and program presented by the Rochester Area Friends of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum on May 6, 2017, from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

The event will be at the Apache Kahler Hotel, at 1517 16th St. SW, Rochester, Minn., and will include the program In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Norwegian Immigrants Brought to the United States, by Laurann Gilbertson, Chief Curator at Vesterheim.

Everyone is welcome! Tickets are $30 for members and $35 for non-members. RSVP by May 1 to 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, Laurann 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).