Photo courtesy of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Photo courtesy of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

As fall approaches, we’re nearing the one-year anniversary of our historic Building for Culture grant. This partnership between 4Culture and the King County Council to make a $28 million investment in our region’s cultural infrastructure has been a game-changer for many of the 102 organizations that received funding. We’ve already begun to see the effects of these funds throughout the County, and we’ll continue to see them for many years to come.

This July brought one such example: a groundbreaking celebration for the new Nordic Heritage Museum. The museum received $1,000,000 in Building for Culture funds, allowing them to meet contruction deadlines along the way to their goal of opening a new 57,000-square-foot facility in 2018. On a sunny Saturday, nearly 400 people gathered to witness the first shovelfuls of dirt moved at the museum’s future home. The Norwegian Male Chorus and the Norwegian Women’s Chorus performed, museum CEO Eric Nelson and Board President Irma Goertzen welcomed guests and thanked supporters, and Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray spoke about the importance of our cultural heritage. To cap it all off, Eric offered a skål—a toast—to celebrate this milestone.

The new museum and cultural center will be located on Market Street in the heart of Ballard, with a design organized around a “fjord” connecting stories of the five Nordic countries—can you name them all?—and the Nordic American experience. The core exhibition galleries will include space for travelling exhibits from around the world, and a cafe, store, auditorium, and classrooms will create dynamic social experiences for visitors. Take a virtual tour of the Nordic’s future home, and watch for opening ceremonies in early 2018!