The museum was packed last evening, while families and friends congratulated their fourth-graders on the projects they made during Vesterheim’s Pioneer Immersion Program.

The Pioneer Immersion Program is an innovative cooperative effort between the museum and area schools.

The students create immigrant identities for themselves, using immigrant diaries, documents, and other sources. Then they record their impressions and thoughts in their own journals as they take part in packing an immigrant trunk, constructing a “log” home, and completing a series of typical chores.

Along with their journals, students create projects related to immigrant experiences and pioneer history, and they often enlist the help of parents, grandparents, and other family and friends in doing so, making it a valuable intergenerational experience.

It’s always so fun to watch the students present their projects and journals in a real museum exhibit!

The program was funded in 2019 by Barbara & Rich Amundson, Joann Voltmer, and Sons of Norway Decorah Lodge.

Find more info about the program here.