Scandinavian American: Photography by National Geographic Explorer Erika Skogg

June 11, 2022 - April 16, 2023

This exhibit is a collection of photos by Door County-born National Geographic Explorer Erika Skogg that depict the lifestyle, celebrations and traditions of Scandinavian American communities throughout the Midwest – a project funded by the National Geographic Society.

The images in the exhibition feature Americans of Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish ancestry in communities like Decorah, Iowa; Hancock, Michigan; Ephraim, Wisconsin; Pequot Lakes, Minnesota; and Lindsborg, Kansas.

Erika Skogg is a photographer, educator, and National Geographic Explorer with experience documenting cultural stories from the United States to Morocco, Greenland, Iceland, Colombia, and beyond. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Erika’s most recent photographic research is closer to home and driven by the desire to immerse, understand, and visually preserve the region’s Scandinavian and Nordic culture. In 2018, Erika received a National Geographic Storytelling Grant for her project “Scandinavian American” to document the Upper Midwest’s cultural connections to its emigrant history and promote an interest in one’s own genealogy.

Check back for information about a presentation from Erika to discuss her Scandinavian American visual essay, her path to becoming a National Geographic Explorer, and how she approaches visual storytelling.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Vesterheim Annual Fund from Janet and Rob Coe and the John K. and Luise V. Hanson Foundation.
Waitresses Kara Caldecott and Betsy Cornelius arrive to work at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
Mark Hepokoski of Hancock, Michigan, explains the Finnish-American tradition of putting a broom outside your front door.
Decorah High School Nordic Dancers watch the Nordic Fest parade.