Vesterheim is once again participating in #GivingTuesday! Our theme for this year’s #GivingTuesday is “My Favorite Thing about Vesterheim.”

Friends, volunteers, trustees, and staff have highlighted their “Favorite Things” about the museum and have shared why they care so deeply for Vesterheim! You can see their responses below.

Thanks to the generosity of our Board of Trustees, all gifts made on #GivingTuesday (and throughout December 2019) will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $75,000)! That’s right! Any gift you give will be DOUBLED!

Because of YOU, exciting things are happening at Vesterheim and together we are confident we can do more! Can we count on you to help us?

Donate online at or call 563-382-9681.

View #GivingTuesday video here.

Our favorite thing about Vesterheim is that everyone there is eager and excited to pass on their knowledge to the young. We are so grateful for the many opportunities Vesterheim has given our family to learn about our Scandinavian heritage. From the Montessori preschool connection with Barnetimen to the fourth-grade Pioneer Immersion Program and afterschool folk-art Klubbs, our children have grown up with a deep respect for their past. And of course, the Free First Thursdays and the museum’s Nordic Fest exhibits are priceless opportunities that all of us are thankful for!”
— Anita and Al Weis and family

Supporters like the Weis family from Decorah highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“Our Favorite Things about Vesterheim are all the special celebrations like Syttende Mai, Nordic Fest, and others, with the flags flying out in front and the crowds of people exploring the special displays. We personally enjoy the juried contests of rosemaling, woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving, and knifemaking.

We love to bring first-time visitors to Vesterheim and watch their surprised expressions. Our friends from Asker, Norway, said, “You are more Norwegian than we are! I’ve learned new things about Norwegian culture and history today at Vesterheim.”

Young children get excited about the TradeWind, which is similar to what their ancestors might have sailed on to America or the inside of an early home their ancestors might have lived in. Children’s imaginations and curiosities just sparkle after exploring those displays. Such experiences open discussions on “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?”
— Pat and OJ Tomson

Supporters like Pat and OJ Tomson highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My Favorite Thing about Vesterheim is beholding the generosity of the Vesterheim community that supports the work we do. What a special gift to receive from folk artist, Harley Refsal—a custom carved Barred Rock Hen just like my feathered girls at home! I’m proud to wear this awesome carving, an example of the creative culture we strive to support carrying these traditions forward.”
— Leah Donhowe Lovelace

Supporters like Leah Donhowe Lovelace highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My Favorite Thing about Vesterheim is the people. The visitors who come in saying, “Visiting Vesterheim is on my bucket list” and those who ask, “What’s in here?” The talented folk-art teachers and students. The curious Barnetimen preschoolers and proud Pioneer Immersion Program fourth-graders. And, lucky me, I love the people I work with—Vesterheim’s dedicated staff and volunteers.”
— Sue Edison-Swift

Supporters like Sue Edison-Swift highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My Favorite Thing about Vesterheim is the stories. One of the best things about my job here at Vesterheim is talking with people. I hear so many amazing stories–stories of ancestors immigrating to this country, stories about family traditions, stories about favorite pieces within the museum’s collection, stories about their passion for folk art, and stories about why they love Vesterheim and what Vesterheim means to them. Thank you to faithful friends like YOU who support Vesterheim through your time, your talents, and your treasures. Because of YOU, the mission of Vesterheim and these wonderful stories will continue into the future.”
— Diane Wagner

Supporters like Diane Brondyke highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“Our Favorite Thing about Vesterheim is the dedicated mission to engage a broad audience of all ages and different backgrounds through exhibitions, classes, publications, and events. We’re so proud that Vesterheim is ranked in the top 15 U.S. heritage museums by USA TODAY and has ties to Norway today.”
— Richard and Joann Hemp

Supporters like Dick and Joann Hemp highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My favorite thing at Vesterheim is hearing people exclaim, “I had no idea!” They say this when they visit the museum, attend an event, take a class, or simply hear about us for the first time.

It happened this year in my own family when our son took a spoon-carving class. He grew up with Vesterheim because I’ve been working here since his childhood. That class experience, learning an age-old traditional skill from a world-class teacher with camaraderie, hospitality, and access to the collections, revealed the depth of what Vesterheim offers.

The words came out of his mouth: “I had no idea!” I just smiled, because we hear it so often.”
— Martha Griesheimer

Supporters like Martha Griesheimer highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“One of my many Favorite Things about Vesterheim is the classes. I love creating, and there are so many interesting classes to choose from. I’ve taken a variety–from woodworking to weaving Sámi bracelets, and every one has been a wonderful experience.”
— Shawn Sersland

Supporters like Shawn Sersland highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My Favorite Thing at Vesterheim is the collection. There are so many wonderful objects and artworks. Some are beautiful, others have fascinating stories. We can learn from them all and be truly inspired.”
— Laurann Gilbertson

Supporters like Laurann Gilbertson highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.

“My favorite thing about Vesterheim is talking to the people who really love and care about the museum. Whether I’m attending a Friends of Vesterheim event, meeting with donors, giving a presentation, or visiting with students who are taking a folk-art class, it is always inspiring to hear people talk about what they love about Vesterheim and share how Vesterheim has impacted their lives. Because of the ongoing support of loyal donors like you, Vesterheim is more than a world-class museum preserving the artifacts of the past. It is a cultural center dedicated to preserving living traditions through our special exhibitions, folk-art classes, annual events, youth programs, magazine, and tours to Norway.

I am keenly aware that all the things that make Vesterheim a great place wouldn’t happen without our capable staff, our dedicated board of trustees, our enthusiastic volunteers, and faithful friends like you. Please know how grateful we are for the many ways that you support the mission of Vesterheim. Together, I am confident we can do even more.”
— Chris Johnson

Supporters like Chris Johnson highlighted their “Favorite Things” about Vesterheim for #GivingTuesday 2019.