Vesterheim Begins Restoration to the Outside of the Museum Building

Vesterheim is sprucing up the main Museum Building this spring! Contractors, Building Restoration Corporation (BRC), from Rochester, Minnesota, will start staging for a museum envelope project and begin work in mid-April. The project is estimated to be completed by mid-July. The sidewalk on the corner of Water and Mill Street will occasionally be closed, and BRC is working with the city of Decorah on safety for pedestrian traffic during the work.

This project is the second phase of work outlined by Lerch Bates, technical advisors based in the Twin Cities, who assessed the condition of the building in 2021.

This phase will include tuckpointing, or repairing the mortar joints between bricks, on the east, west, and north walls of the historical section of the building, plus replacing any broken bricks and stone windowsills.

Projects such as this restoration are vital to the museum campus and stewardship of the collection, and they represent ongoing facilities and maintenance needs.

“It’s important to be good stewards of this historic structure, and the primary goals are to help preserve the building and to improve climate control in the exhibit spaces,” Vesterheim President/CEO Chris Johnson said. “This work benefits Decorah’s historic district and also benefits the museum collection housed inside the building,” he continued.

He said that work on the outside of the building supports Vesterheim’s upcoming strategic plan goal to upgrade the inside of the building and remodel the core exhibitions.

The first phase of the project was completed last spring when the 24-year-old roof was replaced by ForSure Roofing from Des Moines, Iowa.

This project is supported in part by the State Historical Society of Iowa, Historical Resource Development Program, and Winneshiek County Community Foundation. Vesterheim is grateful to these institutions for their support and to BRC, ForSure Roofing, and Lerch Bates for their work in helping to preserve this important historic building.