Friday, November 6, 2009

Max Manus

One of the best things about working here at Nordic is exposure to some of the best film and media coming out of Scandinavia today. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to introduce the hilarious (and hilariously terrifying) Norwegian flick Dead Snow at our Northern Lights Film Festival.

Next Thursday we are showing another Norwegian blockbust, but this time the film is a bit more serious. It's titled Max Manus, after a hero of the Norwegian resistance movement during World War II. Manus has written a two-part autobiography about his service on which this film is based. Manus's contribution to the Norwegian resistance was so significant that he was the personal guard of the Norwegian Crown Prince Olav V.

Max Manus (2008, Norway)
Thursday, November 12, 7:30 p.m.

“Max Manus” is a biographic war film based on the real events of the life of Norwegian resistance fighter Max Manus. Manus was one of the pioneers in the Norwegian resistance movement, and was arrested by the Gestapo in 1941. The film was seen by 140,500 people on its opening weekend in Norway, a national record for a Norwegian film. Reserved seating.
Suggested donation: $10. To reserve tickets call 206.789.5707 x10

Friday, October 9, 2009

Saturday is Leif Erikson Day

Join me, the Museum and the Nordic Spirit in celebration Leif Erikson Day this Saturday at Shilshole Bay Marina! The event is sponsored by our good friends at the Leif Erikson International Foundation, who will be hosting a show of classic Nordic cars near the Leif Erikson statue from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Nordic Spirit will be sailing down through the Ballard Locks to moor beside the classic cars!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Norway Day Centennial Celebration!

On August 30, 2009, one hundred years after Seattle’s first Viking-style boat made its debut at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the Scandinavian community will again host a sizable celebration—the highlight of which will be the dedication of the restored Nordic Spirit. The centennial celebration of Norway Day at the A-Y-P will be held at Fishermen’s Terminal from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

We hope that you will join us for the centennial celebration of Norway Day, as we pay tribute to the rich legacy represented by two boats: the 1909 Viking and the restored Nordic Spirit. Festivities will begin at 1:00 p.m. with music, refreshments, photographs and film footage from the 1909 celebration, and activities for children. At 2:00 p.m., the Norwegian Ladies Chorus and Norwegian Male Chorus will greet the Nordic Spirit on the dock. Special guests, including Senator Ken Jacobsen and Senator Kohl-Welles (who will deliver greetings from Governor Gregoire), will join us in celebrating Scandinavian life in Seattle, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest, and in dedicating the Nordic Spirit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ballard Seafood Fest

The Nordic Spirit will be featured at this weekends 35th annual Ballard Seafood Fest! Come find us on Nordic Roe, right by the Ballard Library.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The New Nordic Heritage Museum

Did you know that the Nordic Heritage Museum is moving? Well, after over 25 years in its current home, the Museum is embarking on a journey to build a new facility with the space, location, and stature to engage future generations in learning about the Nordic immigrant experience in the Northwest and Scandinavian art and culture—past, present, and future. Contributions made to the campaign are directed toward acquiring nearly 75,000 square feet of property on Market Street in downtown Ballard and funding the construction of a state-of-the-art building in which the Museums exhibits, programs, and audiences will have the room to grow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Viking Days!

The Nordic Heritage Museum’s annual Viking Days festival celebrates its 26th anniversary on July 11 and 12, 2009. This eventful weekend offers unique Scandinavian entertainment, food, arts & crafts merchants and real live Vikings only seen in Ballard! Our Taste of Scandinavia will represent each of the five Nordic countries featuring delectable edibles such as Swedish meatballs, Norwegian lefse, Danish √¶bleskiver, and a variety of Finnish and Icelandic goodies. Also enjoy our Traditional Swedish Pancake Breakfast and Famous Salmon Barbeque Dinner.

The Ravenstead Vikings will be on hand all weekend clad in their authentic costumes. They will show Viking Days visitors all aspects of Viking life in their small encampment. Viking arts and crafts such as weaving, spinning, woodcarving and cooking will be demonstrated, and will take you back to an earlier time. The Vikings will also lead discussions about many aspects of Viking life on both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors will also be able to view live performances of Viking battles!

Extraordinary, traditional folk music will be performed both days on multiple stages during Viking Days, including Nordic dance music from TinnFelén, as well as Corky Dragland performing accordion acrobatics. Also performing will be Sammamish Sublimation, and many more!

High quality Nordic crafts will be for sale at an array of merchant booths on site and kids can take part in hands-on crafts, try on Viking costumes and other activities during the festival.

On Saturday, Living Voices will present two unique and stirring presentations combining video and an interactive performer that will capture both your minds and your heart. Come learn what it was like to live in another time and experience the dynamically changing Northwest at the turn of the century. The expansion of the railroad, the discovery of gold, labor struggles, and world war - these are the passages experienced by a young Swedish immigrant and her community. As she interacts with her African, Asian, and Native American neighbors you'll discover the diversity of the American experience.

The very popular Traditional Swedish Pancake Breakfast takes place from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $6 children, $8 members, $10 non-members.

Our famous Salmon Barbeque Dinner will be on Saturday from 5 pm to 7 pm. Tickets: $10 children, $12 members, $15 non-members.

Ages 21+ can visit our special Valhalla Beer Garden for exclusive music and Nordic Heritage Museum brewed Viking beer!

Admission to Viking Days and the Museum is free, so take advantage of this very special weekend and see what goes on inside the Museum as well as on the grounds outside! Families and all ages are welcome.

All programs are subject to change without prior notice.

For general questions and information, please call 206-789-5707, or visit our website:

See you at the Nordic Heritage Museum!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wooden Boats Festival

Join us at the Lake Union Wooden Boats Festival this weekend, July 4th and 5th. The Nordic Spirit will be joining many other historic wooden boats from the Puget Sound region.

in South Lake Union
Saturday, July 4th and Sunday, July 5th, 2009
10 am – 6 pm daily
Suggested Donation: $5/person; $10/family

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NW Folklife

We had a great time at Northwest Folklife this Memorial Day weekend. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our tent and saw the Nordic Spirit. I noticed many many people taking pictures with the Nordic Spirit, and I'd love to share those pictures on this blog. If you have any that you'd like to share, send me a link to your Flickr feed, post a comment, or email me at

To start things off, here's a picture that was taken of me after the Syttende Mai parade in Ballard last Sunday:

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Northwest Folklife

Thanks to everyone who made Ballard's celebration of Syttende Mai great! The Nordic Spirit made its official debut and we are just beginning to pull together photographs of the parade. I'll make sure to post a bunch in the coming weeks.

Northwest Folklife is this weekend, beginning on Friday and closing on Monday. The Nordic Heritage Museum is participating in a bunch of different ways: we will be active in the Nordic Village with Erik Holt showing off his woodcarving on Sunday, and lots of children's craft activities throughout the weekend. The Nordic Spirit will be nearby the Nordic Village, so be sure to stop by and say 'hi' to our staff and volunteers. Olaf Kvamme will be giving a presentation about Scandinavian participation in the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition on Friday at 6:00 pm on the Narrative Stage, and I will be giving a presentation on the Nordic Spirit the following Monday at 1:00 on the Narrative Stage.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Syttende Mai!

Join us in celebration of Norwegian Constitution Day at the largest 17th of May parade in the United States! We are excited to announce that the Nordic Spirit will be participating in the parade this year. This is the first major public appearance of the boat, and we expect it to be profound and inspirational.

If you would like to march alongside the boat in the Syttende Mai parade, come to the Nordic Heritage Museum by 2:00 on Sunday, May 17th. Be sure to fill out and bring the Individual Hold Harmless portion of the parade application with you. The parade begins at 4:00, and we are one of the first entries, so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the parade after we march down! We encourage anyone who marches to wear their Bunad or folk costume, or red or blue clothing.

If you have any questions, please give me a call at 206-789-5707 ex 27 or email at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Help us finish restoring the Nordic Spirit!

If you've been itching to get up close with the Nordic Spirit, now is your chance. We are offering two opportunities for you to work with local artisans and boat builders to finish restoring the Nordic Spirit: Saturday April 18 from 10-4 and Saturday April 25 from 10-4.

Space is limited, so if you want a chance to work on the boat, please contact me at 206-789-5707 ex 27 or

Friday, April 3, 2009

Volunteer opportunities!

If you've been dying to get up-close and personal with the Nordic Spirit, now is your chance: we will be holding a few weekend work parties in April. If you would like a chance to sand, scrape, clean and oil the hull, contact Jason Herrington at, or at (206) 789-5707 ex 27.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Culture and Heritage Day

Come sample Norwegian food, song, dance and handicrafts at Culture and Heritage Day at Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard this Saturday the 28th from 10:00 - 4:00. I will be leading tours of the Nordic Spirit at Pacific Fishermen's Shipyard at 11:30 and 1:30. Tell your friends! It is sure to be a great event.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Souvenirs and Stories recap

Janet and I spent some time at the Museum of History and Industry this weekend for Souvenirs and Stories day. We were a bit anxious about moving the Nordic Spirit for the first time, but we got arrived at Montlake without issue.

Stephen Lundgren volunteered to brave the wind and rain and talk to visitors about the history of the Nordic Spirit and its future. Helen Divjak deserves a special thanks for inviting us to participate.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Souvenirs and Stories: A Salute to 1909

Join us at the Museum of History and Industry for Souvenirs and Stories: A Salute to 1909 this Saturday, March 14 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Nordic Spirit will be on display in MOHAI’s lower parking lot.

The Museum of History and Industry is located McCurdy Park at 2700 24th Ave. E, Seattle, WA 98112. For more information call MOHAI at 206-324-1126 or the Nordic Heritage Museum at 206-789-5707.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A guest post from Michael Herschensohn

It is simply thrilling to watch the effort by the Nordic Heritage Museum to restore the wooden ship in its collection as part of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Centennial Celebration. It is a powerful reminder of the role of Seattle’s Nordic communities in the creation and success of the A-Y-P.

The effort also recalls the rekindled interest in ancient Viking ships that took place following the 1880 discovery and excavation of the "Gokstad." In an oblique way, it also reminds us that much of what happened at the A-Y-P was not unique to Washington State or Seattle. Indeed, like many buildings, events and activities of Seattle’s great fair, the Viking ship that sailed from Kirkland to the A-Y-P boat landing on Portage Bay repeated on a much smaller scale a similar ship at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.

For that giant world’s fair, a close copy of the 8th-century Gokstad ship, called "Viking," was built at Christen Christensen’s Framnes Shipyard in Sandefjord. The ship was 24 meters long, 5 meters wide, with a mast 15 meters high, and equipped with a 9 by 12.5 meter sail. It had holes for 16 pairs of oars and cost 12,000 kroner.

Proving that Leif Eriksson could have made the trip to America 500 years before Columbus, the Viking sailed all the way from Bergen on April 30, 1893. It arrived on June 13, 1893, at New London, Connecticut (44 days). From New London, it made its way to the Hudson River, crossed New York State on the Erie Canal and then navigated the Great Lakes to Chicago. Following the fair,the Norwegian government donated the ship to the people of Chicago, where it was displayed in Lincoln Park for 100 years. It is the single largest surviving object from the 1893 exposition. It now languishes sadly on private land in Geneva, Ill., far from the windy city.

You can find more about that ship at The links at the bottom of the page are especially informative.

The Viking at the Columbian Exposition:

The earliest known image of a Viking ship, from the Bayeux Tapestry, an eleventh-century embroidered history of events preceding the 1066 Norman invasion of England:

After serving as Executive Director of The Children's Museum, The Museum of History and Industry and Northwest Folklife, Michael is now coordinating the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Centennial Celebration, where he supervises no one. Eons ago, he earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature. He capped that degree with a Masters in Architectural History and Preservation Planning. Michael was born in New York.

The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYP) Centennial Celebration is a project of the Seattle Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and 4Culture, King County's Cultural Services Agency, in collaboration with dozens of organizations and individuals around the region. Visit the AYP Centennial Celebration website at:

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Keel

I met Doug Dixon and Cornelius Sprenger at Pacific Fishermen's shipyard last friday. Doug showed us some of the work his guys have done on the Nordic Spirit. Enjoy!

Doug and Cornelius examining the old keel and its replacement.

The underside of the boat, absent the keel.

The interior of the boat.