Classes in Decorah
“We applaud the efforts of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum to sustain folk and traditional arts in Decorah, Iowa.” ~The National Endowment for the Arts
- Click here to download a 2013 class catalog.
- Click here to download a class registration form.
- Support Vesterheim's Folk Art Education Program
A Class is a Blast at Vesterheim!
Cooking, fiber arts, knifemaking, rosemaling, woodworking, and painting for beginning through advanced students.
Take a class and enjoy!
• Quality instructors
• New friendships in scenic Decorah
• Inspiration from Vesterheim’s collections
Whatever your ethnic heritage, and whether you’ve been studying Norwegian folk art for years or have just begun, Vesterheim will inspire you to make a tradition into something new.
This year is the forty-seventh anniversary of Scandinavian folk art classes at Vesterheim. The first two classes, held in 1967, were Hardanger embroidery, taught by Carola Schmidt of Decorah, and a rosemaling class, taught by Vesterheim’s dear friend Sigmund Aarseth, from Norway. The folk art education program grew in 1968 to five classes with 63 students from 12 states. The Gold Medalist program also was born in 1967. Since that program began, 124 gold medals have been awarded in four categories—rosemaling, knifemaking, woodworking, and weaving.
The rest is history. A vast number of students are now instructors teaching throughout the United States and other countries. Vesterheim’s mission statement suits us well: Vesterheim embodies the living heritage of Norwegian immigrants to America. Sharing this cultural legacy can inspire people of all backgrounds to celebrate tradition.
This year Vesterheim is offering 48 classes. Most are held at the museum’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center, 502 W. Water Street, in Decorah. The center houses classrooms, workshops, the Museum Store, a student lounge, the Fladager Reference Library, the Bruening Visitor Center, and offices. Most classrooms and other facilities in this building are accessible by elevator or ramp. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility, please ask.
A unique aspect of taking classes at Vesterheim is studying the museum’s collections, which include early folk art from all areas of Norway, representing many and varied traditions, as well as modern pieces that have been systematically collected for decades. Classes often arrange for the museum’s curatorial staff to give specialized tours of collections storage, including the Bauder-Landsgard Collections Study Center. People enrolled in a class are welcome to tour the museum at no cost during the time their class is in session.