Our Permanent Collections for Reference & Research

Since the early years of emigration from the Nordic countries to the United States, individuals and groups have brought treasures from their homeland: necessities and ephemera.

Over the years, descendants of these immigrants have attempted to convey their ancestors’ experiences through words, images, and objects. Material culture connected with migration continues to capture our imagination. Things carried by Nordic immigrants to America are no exception. These objects are enigmas; they invoke stories of family, gender, politics, poverty, and religion. They speak of skills and place. They tell the story of loss and gain and the challenges that follow in their wake.

The heart of Nordic Heritage Museum’s collections illustrates the everyday practice and accomplishments of this large and influential immigrant community.

The Museum’s collection includes household and occupational objects, furniture, clothing and textiles, fine and decorative art, archival material, and the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library.

The Permanent Collection of more than 77,000 items represents the material culture brought or produced by Nordic immigrants from 1840 to the present, and it also includes contemporary objects from descendants of these immigrants. Although the majority of the objects have Pacific Northwest provenance, and many of them were brought to this country from overseas, the collection includes items from the Midwest and the East Coast as well. The bulk of the collection reflects the secondary migration pattern when many Nordics moved from the Midwest to the West Coast in the 1920s. It is particularly strong in folk art and textiles.

Beginning January 1, 2017, the Museum will have a temporary moratorium on accepting any new donations to the permanent collection, including archival items, photographs, artifacts, or books for the library and Special Collections. We will resume reviewing offers for new materials in the spring of 2018, after completing the move of our collections to the new museum. If you have information or inquiries relating to offers of donated items, please contact Collections Manager Fred Poyner IV in 2018: (206) 789-5707 x18, or [email protected]. Thank you.

For general research related questions about the permanent collection, including special collections of historical photographs, please contact:

Fred Poyner IV, Collections Manager, at: [email protected], or 206.789.5707 x18.

The Permanent Collection is divided into four main components: the Three-Dimensional Object Collection, the Fine Art Collection, the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Music Library, and the Special Collections Archives. 

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Donate to our Collection

Nordic Heritage Museum relies on the generosity of donors to continue to build its collection. As we maintain best practices and strengthen our collection, we have adopted policies and procedures to guide us in this process. 

For more information about donating to the Museum, please contact our Collections Manager, Fred Poyner IV, at [email protected] or 206.789.3271 x18.

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3014 NW 67th Street
Seattle, WA 98117

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