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Open House for Innovators & Inventors Exhibit

October 16, 2021 @ 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Open House for Innovators & Inventors Exhibit

October 16, 2021 | 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Location: Vesterheim Campus, 520 W. Water Street

Join us for an Open House to celebrate the Innovators & Inventors exhibit. This free family event will take place outside in Vesterheim’s campus with the opportunity to view the gallery exhibit inside the Main Building.

Outside in Heritage Park, there will be complimentary coffee, apple cider, and Norwegian cookies from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Guided tours of Heritage Park will be available at 1:30 p.m., and brief comments about the exhibit from Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson will be given at 2:30 p.m. During the Open House, a motorhome from Winnebago Industries will be available on campus for viewing.

There will also be some takeaway innovative goodie bags for children to enjoy at the event and later at home.

Tours of the exhibit in the gallery will be self-guided with docents available to answer questions.

“Innovators & Inventors” celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of Norwegian immigrants and their descendants in America. The exhibit covers everything from Karsten Solheim’s ergonomic golf putters to the pacemaker, invented by Earl Bakken, and the motorhome by Winnebago Industries.

The motorhome that will be part of the open house event honors John K. Hanson, who took over a failing travel trailer business in Forest City, Iowa, in 1958 and quickly made improvements that made recreational vehicles affordable and enjoyable. Over sixty years, Winnebago Industries has produced more than 300,000 units, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, motorhome sales and rentals have jumped as Americans look for safe ways to travel and enjoy the outdoors.

Exhibit programming includes an Innovators & Inventors lecture series with programs throughout the fall and winter on Zoom. Find out more about the exhibit and the lecture series here.

The exhibit and lecture series are sponsored by the Tomson Family Foundation.

Workers and John Groset standing by the first ice cream making maching.
Image above: John Groset of Bothell, Washington, invented the first machine for forming and baking ice cream cones. Groset came from Norway in 1905 and began patenting his cone-making inventions in 1911. This very large machine was patented in 1914 and put to use in Groset’s Consolidated Wafer Company. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about his battle to protect his patent for the machine.


October 16, 2021
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM