Ring in the season with Vesterheim at a Norwegian Christmas Celebration on December 2, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. This lively day of events includes Scandinavian holiday traditions, crafts, music, a movie, treats, and more. Free admission for kids!
Highlights this year:
• This event is a great opportunity to see Vesterheim’s special exhibitions, including Spoons: Carving. Community, Rocks and Hard Places: Emigration through the Lens of Knud Knudsen, and, Koselig, which explores this Norwegian word, often translated as cozy with a sense of warm-hearted contentment—perfect for a Norwegian Christmas.
• Enjoy the holiday atmosphere of Vesterheim’s campus with a warm fire outside the museum and a juletrefest inside, where young and old join hands and sing Christmas songs while they circle around the tree, hear about Christmas in Norway, and meet the julenisse (Christmas elf). Don’t be scared by the julebukker, costumed folk who roam the museum complex scaring away evil spirits.
• Hands-on activities and ornament-making are available at “make-and-take” stations throughout the museum’s exhibits. “Try making woven heart baskets in the Koseligexhibit” recommends Event Coordinator, Martha Griesheimer. “This tradition continues to be part of creating a koselig Christmas for people with Scandinavian/Nordic heritage on both sides of the Atlantic,” she continued, “so it is one craft activity we offer every year at the Norwegian Christmas event.” Some new creative activities this year include experimenting with Norwegian kolrosing designs using pens on adorable small wooden spoons in Spoons: Carving. Community.Volunteers from the Luther College Art and Community class will show how to make a surprising paper ornament to take home, and there is also the chance to win a Decorah-themed poster when you color an alphabet letter.
• As a special treat, the Oneota Film Festival joins Vesterheim to present the film Journey to the Christmas Star — the 2012 remake of Norway’s beloved Christmas adventure for the whole family. In this film set in a magnificent winter wonderland, a courageous girl sets out on a hazardous journey to find the Christmas Star in order to free the kingdom from a curse and bring back a long lost princess, but some mighty foes try to stop her. The film is in the museum’s Bethania Church at 3:30 p.m. with free admission.
• Vesterheim’s Kaffistova (a pop-up café) will offer an á la carte menu of traditional tastes such as varme pølse, soup, lefse, and a variety of desserts, including rømmegrøt, julekake, and sandbakkeler. Serving 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Vesterheim’s Bethania Church on North Mill St.
• There will be folk-art demonstrations throughout the museum, including woodworking by Kim Glock, Harley Refsal, and Ellen Macdonald, and rosemaling by Ruth Green. Beverly Schrandt will demonstrate wheat-weaving, with ornaments for sale, and the weavers and spinners of the Oneota Weavers Guild will be in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center to demonstrate and sell fiber art gifts on from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (They will also be open on Friday from 1:00-5:00 p.m.)
• Decorah-area musicians and vocal groups will perform throughout the day at several locations around the museum complex, including students of fiddler Erik Sessions, Decorah Chorale, the Decorah High School Madrigals, Northern Lights, Touch of Brass, and the Luren Singing Society. Choral performances take place at Bethania Church with free admission. Both instrumental groups perform in the museum’s Main Building.
• Norwegian Christmas is a great time to do your holiday shopping. The Museum Store is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and packed full of great Scandinavian gifts. Two authors will be on hand in the Museum Store to sign their books. Kathleen Ernst returns to debut Mining for Justice, the eighth mystery in her series about museum curator Chloe Ellefson and will be available from 1:00- 4:00 p.m. Also, Ingrid Kallick, author-illustrator of the beautiful and magical stories Two Troll Tales from Norway, will sign her book from 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and then give a presentation at 2:00 p.m. in the Bethania Church.