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523 W. Water Street, P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA 52101
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Ranked #1 of 20 Attractions in Decorah
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Owner description: Through 24,000 artifacts and 12 historic buildings, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum shares the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world and is a national center for folk-art classes.

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58 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Denver, Colorado
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

Most all our families have relatives who immigrated to the U.S. Some of those stories have survived and been passed along through successive generations. While concentrating on Norwegian immigrants, Vesterheim creates the overall picture of what it must have been like to leave home and family in the "old country" and embark on a rugged move to a new country... More

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Mason City, Iowa
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2014

My husband and I both enjoyed our visit to the Vesterheim tremendously! The artifacts and displays of Norwegian history is so informative and so very well organized and displayed. The best part, however, has to be the tour that we went on - seeing the outside buildings, school, houses, and church. There are more buildings, but we ran out of... More

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Decorah, Iowa
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2014

This is a nice place to get a real feel for the Norwegian culture. There are several floors packed with more than you can imagine. Be sure to see the neat furniture in the basement along with the church set up! If you visit on the first Thursday of the month, it is free!

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Camarillo, California
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
14 attraction reviews
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2014

I plan to go back when I have more time. I rushed through due to being with a family group that with time constraints. There were several floors of artifacts - arts, tools, storage, household items, church items and a number of interesting exhibits. Extra thrilling for me was one civil war exhibit down stairs that focused on my husband's... More

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Ionia, Iowa, United States
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2014

Interesting that items from this museum where inspiration for the movie Frozen. Great place highly recommend.

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Coralville, Iowa
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014

This museum has a lot of interesting Norwegian artifacts and information. I liked that it felt like an older museum I remember from my youth, with musty (in a nice way) aromas, dim lighting and creaky wooden floors, yet it also had modern gallery areas that were bright and fresh. Loved the actual boat on display that a couple of... More

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014

In this outstanding museum where we usually say--my grand parents had one of those--this show of mid-century to contemporary enamel kitchen-ware and jewelry was something I could say "I had one of those." Beautifully presented with fascinating background info.

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Chandler, Arizona
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
44 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2014

This is a Norwegian Museum in a predominantly Norwegian immigrant area. The museum told the stories of the people and the town with text, pictures, and artifacts. So many items were family heirlooms and keepsakes. There were examples of local crafts through the years as well. The day we were there it was a scortcher so we skipped the open... More

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Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2014

This is an amazing trip back in time to the early days of the Norwegian people. A lot of history to be learned. Many outstanding displays and artifacts. The people who work there are very nice and helpful. If you have any interest in Norwegian culture, don't miss this one.

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Eugene, Oregon
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
13 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2014 via mobile

This is a wonder field museum which interprets the immigrant experience very well. The artifacts and buildings (which reflect the Scandinavian open-air museum model) are used to interprets acculturation which would be of interest to any ethnic group not just Norwegians. Also an excellent gift shop. I only wished I could be part of the many different study/learning groups.

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