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Kathleen Ernst

Kathleen Ernst of Middleton, Wisconsin, has spent 30+ years exploring and writing about heritage and traditions. She worked for 12 years as an interpreter and curator at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum; and another decade developing and scripting instructional programs for public television. Among Kathleen’s 41 books are the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries and the Hanneke Bauer mysteries for adults, and many historical novels for young readers. Her focus on immigrant stories inspired Balancing: Poems of the Female Immigrant Experience in the Upper Midwest, 1830-1930. She has also written two nonfiction books, including A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons, which was selected to represent Wisconsin at the National Book Festival. Honors for her work include serving as Writer-in-Residence for the National Park Service, the American Heritage Women in the Arts Recognition Award for Literature from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Major Achievement Award from the Council For Wisconsin Writers, the Sterling North Legacy Award for Children’s Literature, and an Emmy for children’s programming.

Learn more: In this episode of the Vesterheim series, Folk Art In Place, Kathleen has some tips for how to get your family stories down in writing!