Volunteering at Vesterheim

Volunteers of all ages and abilities are involved at Vesterheim, and new volunteers are always welcome. There are great opportunities for people from many walks of life. You may be able to offer a specific skill or talent, but often, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are the only requirements for a volunteer task!

Our volunteers are tour guides and folk artists, cooks and servers, clerical and curatorial helpers, translators and teachers, carpenters and painters, and more. Most importantly, each volunteer is an ambassador for Vesterheim.

For questions regarding volunteering at Vesterheim, contact Chivonne Marlow, Visitor Services Manager, at 563-382-9681 ext. 305, or cmarlow@vesterheim.org.

Your help is always welcome at Vesterheim!

Vesterheim holds infinite potential for exploration and lifelong learning. Volunteering can be a great experience that evolves over time. The important thing is to get started!

The time commitment to volunteer varies a lot. Some people volunteer weekly, while others help out for a few hours occasionally, or even just once a year.

This is a list of skills that we typically look for in our volunteers.

  • Tour guide
  • Lobby host
  • Teaching assistant (youth programs, crafts)
  • Hand addressing
  • Proofreading
  • Translation
  • Sewing
  • Carpentry
  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning
  • Inventory
  • Transportation to/from airports, etc.
  • Hospitality
  • Norwegian specialty food preparation
  • Cashier
  • Crafts materials preparation
  • Craft instruction/supervision
  • Work with children
  • Rosemaling demonstrations
  • Weaving demonstrations
  • Spinning demonstrations
  • Nålbinding demonstrations
  • Knitting demonstrations
  • Hedebosøm demonstrations
  • Hardangersøm demonstrations
  • Bunad construction and decoration demonstrations
  • Wood turning demonstrations
  • Blacksmithing demonstrations
  • Figure carving demonstrations
  • Acanthus carving demonstrations
  • Chip carving demonstrations
  • Kolrosing demonstrations
  • Ropemaking
  • Butter churning
  • Pressing apples
  • Wash clothes by hand
  • Shell/grind corn
  • Flower arranging

Many of the volunteer opportunities at Vesterheim are outlined on our Volunteer Questionnaire. Filling out this questionnaire is the first step in becoming involved. With your preferences in hand, Chivonne can contact you when opportunities arise that match your range of interests.

Volunteer Questionnare

Chivonne Marlow
Vesterheim Museum
P.O. Box 379
Decorah, IA 52101

An occasional volunteer newsletter is sent out to all active volunteers. Download the most recent issue below!

Current Volunteer Needs

Guides (all year, trainings in fall and spring) – Lead group tours in the Main Building and the Heritage Park.

Teaching Assistance: Assist with crafts and hand-on demonstration for school groups and at special events

Nordic Fest (spring/summer): Greet visitors, host galleries, and more.

Norwegian Christmas Celebration (winter): Greet visitors, host galleries, lead craft programs, help with the coffee shop, and more.

Hospitality (all year): Help with receptions by serving, baking, decorating, clean up, etc.

Guide Training Week

Guide training week is designed to provide background and support to Vesterheim’s guides in a concentrated format twice a year. Volunteers who have indicated an interest in becoming tour guides automatically receive the guide training schedules in the spring and fall. Guide training is scheduled around other activities at Vesterheim and varies in both content and timing.

The overall goal of guide training is to provide information on Norwegian-American history and Vesterheim’s exhibitions and collections, along with safety and security training, and encouragement in the art of leading tours for the museum’s visitors.

If you are interested in volunteering as a tour guide, contact Chivonne Marlow, Visitor Services Manager, at 563-382-9681 ext. 305, or cmarlow@vesterheim.org.