Collections & Research

What is in Vesterheim's Collections?


Folk Art

Handcrafted Norwegian and Norwegian-American folk art dating after 1900 to the present. Includes: rosemaling, woodcarving, weaving, needlework, knifemaking, and instruments.



Objects chosen or custom-made to furnish public and private places. Includes: furniture, tableware, serving wares, textiles, altar paintings, and ceremonial artifacts.


Historic Folk Art

Handcrafted Norwegian and Norwegian-American folk art dating before 1900. Includes: rosemaling, woodcarving, weaving, needlework, knifemaking, and instruments.


Tools & Tech

Objects used for specific activities, including food preparation, agriculture, industries, transportation, and sports.


Fine Art

Works of visual art by Norwegian immigrant and Norwegian-American artists. Includes: oil paintings, watercolor paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures.



Historic Structures

Buildings that exemplify or contrast Norwegian and Norwegian-American construction methods and forms. Find more information about Vesterheim’s Heritage Park on our Exhibit page.


Clothing &

Clothing & Accessories

Garments for everyday, special occasions, and occupational dress. Includes: folk costumes, fashionable dress, children’s clothing, Norwegian sweaters and other knit wear, and jewelry.


Library Collections
and Archives

The library collections support the study of Norwegian-American history and culture. The archives documents the lives of Norwegian Americans, with a particular strength in historic photographs.


Virtual Galleries

To make more of Vesterheim’s collections accessible, we are offering this sample of artifact images. Enjoy this peek at some of Vesterheim’s outstanding artifacts.

Civil War Database

This database contains information on Civil War soldiers born in Norway, plus many born in Sweden and Denmark. It also includes info on men from other U.S. wars.

Nordic Archives Catalog

Vesterheim shares an online catalog of its archival holdings with Luther College, called Nordic: Norwegian-American Digital Catalog.

Vesterheim's Collecting Policy

For its collection, Vesterheim Museum considers gifts of objects, library materials, and archives materials related to Norwegian and Norwegian-American culture or history, including:

  • Objects brought by Norwegian immigrants.
  • Objects made or used by Norwegian immigrants in the United States.
  • Other objects made or used in the United States which represent the Norwegian-American experience.
  • Books and periodicals that were brought by or read by Norwegian immigrants.
  • Books and periodicals that were printed in Norwegian and published in the U.S.
  • Books and periodicals that relate directly to subjects represented by Vesterheim’s object collection, i.e. folk art, Norwegian-American history.
  • Photographs related to Norwegian-American history and experience.
  • Archival material related directly to the history and operation of Vesterheim.
  • Archival material related directly to artifacts in Vesterheim’s collection.

For more information, contact Vesterheim Collection Assistant Julie Hale at