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Find out what Vesterheim's hiding on a "Free Thursdays" tour

Mon, Sep 20th, 2010
Posted in Arts & Culture

DECORAH, Iowa - "Only a fraction of Vesterheim's remarkable collections are on public display at any one time," said Martha Griesheimer, Vesterheim volunteer coodinator. "Come for a special tour to see the rest."

Join Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum for a free, guided "Storage Facilities Tour" on September 16, "Free Thursday." The tour will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center at 502 W. Water St., and will continue until 3:00 p.m. Participants may gather 15 minutes early.

"Vesterheim's curators will guide you behind the scenes through the museum's extensive storage facilities, and you will learn how these objects benefit hundreds of researchers, folk artists, and the general public," Griesheimer said. The museum's collections include 24,000 objects, with large samplings from the fine, decorative, and folk arts.

Every Thursday admission is free at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and the museum is open until 8:00 p.m. thanks to Decorah Bank & Trust Co. Once a month the museum offers an event in connection with these "Free Thursdays."

Vesterheim uses the story of Norwegian Americans to explore aspects of identity and culture common to everyone. The museum cares for over 24,000 artifacts, among which are some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country. Founded in 1877, Vesterheim is the oldest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city.

From May 1-Oct. 31, Vesterheim is open daily, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. From Nov. 1-April 30, Vesterheim is open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed Monday.

For more information on the museum's exhibits, activities, and membership opportunities, and on ways to make a contribution to Vesterheim, consult Vesterheim's website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

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