Rocks and Hard Places: Emigration through the Lens of Knud Knudsen

September 23, 2017 - September 23, 2018

Why do people leave their homes in search of a better life? Join us as we look for answers to that question in this exciting new exhibit that explores emigration through first person accounts, family histories, and the stunning black and white photography of Knud Knudsen.

The opening of this exhibit is in connection with Vesterheim’s fall harvest event Takkefest on September 23. At 4:00 p.m., there will be a showing of the film “Album,” a beautiful introduction to Knudsen’s world of images, produced by the Norwegian Film institute in Decorah’s Viking Theater. At 6:00 p.m., Zach Row-Heyveld, Vesterheim’s Exhibition Manager, will give a gallery talk in the museum’s Main Building.

Considered one of Norway’s most important photographers, Knudsen (1832-1915) was born in Odda, Hardanger, and he established one of the first photography businesses in the city of Bergen in 1864. In addition to his passion for photography, he also had a special interest in horticulture and the fruit trees grown in his home community. He would often return to the southern branch of the Hardanger Fjord to capture scenes of everyday life on farms and on the fjord. Despite the idyllic landscape, Knudsen’s work vividly shows why the ever present threat of rockslides and avalanches, lack of arable land, lack of economic opportunity, and savage beauty of life on the fjord led to some of the highest rates of emigration per-capita in Norway.

This exhibit features 30 large-format photographs.

Exhibition Sponsors

Leadership funding provided by:
The Broadway Group in Memory of Eva Alsaker
John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation
David and Kirsten Heine

With major support provided by:
Gerald and Mary Jo Boman
Rob and Janet Coe
Kathleen Tokheim Siedhoff

With additional support provided by:
Dorothy Tokheim Askelson and Curtis E. Askelson
Jon and Mary Hart
John and Kristie Lehman
Suzanne and Corey Mineck
Pfizer Foundation Matching Gifts Program
Jeff and Marilyn Roverud
John and Carol Siedhoff
William and Kathi Wild

As well as many other members of the Tokheim family and friends.

With special thanks to our corporate partners:
Impact Coffee, Pulpit Rock Brewing, Fridley-Viking 3 Theaters, Family Care Clinic, and Perfect Edge Framing