Vesterheim houses over 24,000 artifacts, which include large samplings from the fine, decorative, and folk arts, and the tools and machinery of early agriculture, lumbering, and other immigrant industries.
Inside Vesterheim’s Main Building, visitors read the entire history of a proud, courageous people in the beauty of Norwegian textiles and traditional dress;in the lovely, sometimes fantastical decorative painting called rosemaling; in the Spartan furniture and housewares of early pioneer life; and the impressive fine art that Norwegian-American culture eventually fostered.
Vesterheim’s Open Air Division is a collection of 12 historic buildings located behind the Main Building. There's a restored stone mill, dating from 1851, filled with the wonderful, often startling, tools and machines that helped build a new home in a new world. There are also a house and grist mill from Valdres, Norway; two pioneer log houses; a log parochial school; a blacksmith shop; a stabbur, or Norwegian storage building; a shed for drying hops; an early Decorah house of unusual stovewood construction; and a prairie house and a Lutheran church, both moved over 400 miles, from North Dakota to the museum grounds.