Message from President/CEO Chris Johnson

In 2021, Vesterheim grew in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago. Thanks to countless people like YOU who believe in Vesterheim’s mission, we can look back at the incredible milestones that made 2021 a year filled with connections, celebrations, and momentum for the future. Thank you.

This report provides Vesterheim with the opportunity to inform you – our loyal donors, members, and friends – about how your support has made a difference throughout the past year. Each donation you give, each Folk Art School class you take, each membership you purchase, each time you shop at the Museum Store – those supportive acts add up to create meaningful impact.

As a community of people who support Vesterheim, we are joining together to care for and preserve Vesterheim’s extensive collection, keeping Scandinavian folk art in the hands and minds of many and connecting a growing community of people around the world. Throughout this report, you will see how your support translates into effective and innovative programming, exhibitions, projects, and so much more.

In August, we dedicated the recently completed Vesterheim Heritage Park with a celebration for all. This exciting new space on Vesterheim’s campus is a wonderful addition to the Decorah community, showcasing the historic buildings in Vesterheim’s collection in an educational, interpretive, and public outdoor space.

Vesterheim’s online movement continued to grow in 2021. Online events and Folk Art School programs engaged adult and youth participants in all 50 states and 18 countries. We now know the value of cultivating these online connections, and we are committed to offering online programming indefinitely. When we were able to welcome students and visitors back to on-site Folk Art School classes and events in September of 2021, we did so joyously. This was not a “return to normal” moment, but rather a significant step that embraced our ability to fully engage both in-person and online audiences into the future.

On November 30, 2021, we celebrated your generosity during a record-breaking GivingTuesday, with donations totaling over $23,900 and matched by Vesterheim’s Trustees. This report will share more about the many individuals, corporations, and foundations whose generous and heroic gifts to the Vesterheim Annual Fund supported our operations throughout the year, leading us into the next.

I wish to thank Vesterheim’s Board of Trustees for their vision and leadership, which have helped guide us to the next exciting chapter in Vesterheim’s story. Finally, I want to say how proud I am of the Vesterheim staff for the creative and innovative ways they continue to approach their work in support of Vesterheim’s mission and community of people.

We’ll have even more to celebrate in 2022, and we are thankful to continue this work together with YOU!

From all of us here at Vesterheim, tusen takk for supporting our mission!