Vesterheim Member since 1999
Sustaining Member since 2012
Muriel Stone was interviewed by Vesterheim in 2010.
Tell us about your Scandinavian heritage.
My Norwegian heritage comes through my mother and her mother. My grandmother was 100% Norwegian. My brother, Lowell Smith, has been involved in Vesterheim for a long time. He made a donation, long ago, to purchase a brick put in ‘in memory’ of our mother, Blythe Smith. Even though he didn’t live in Iowa at the time, he was a very firm believer of Vesterheim.
What inspired you to get involved with Vesterheim and later become a Sustaining Fellow?
My brother was my inspiration. I was living in Waterloo, working as the departmental director at the University of Northern Iowa, and, though I moved from Iowa in 2001, I kept up my membership because it’s very important. I became a Sustaining Fellow in 2012 because I am very interested in history and I’m very interested in Vesterheim being successful. I know these are hard times for all types of organizations and I just thought I needed to step forward. I think that Vesterheim has an established national presence and I think it’s important to keep that up.
What do you enjoy most about Vesterheim?
The education for adults. I really like the Vesterheim journal that comes out quarterly. That’s a tremendous production.
What would you tell others to encourage them to become Sustaining Members?
If it’s at all feasible for you to make a gift at that level to very seriously consider it and arrange it. I know there will be a lot of organizations making requests of them, but Vesterheim is very unique and it’s important for us to support the work there.
I think Vesterheim is extremely important—not only to Iowa, not only for Norwegians, but as a national organization. It’s probably a world-class museum in ethnic studies.