The Nordic Museum in Seattle opened its doors in May with a two-day opening ceremony filled with Nordic art and culture. Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi participated the Grand Opening festivities. The museum showcases Nordic countries with a fresh touch, its topics ranging from immigration to contemporary art and future innovations.
The Nordic Museum is the largest museum in the United States to honor the legacy of immigrants from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
12 % of Seattle's population has roots in Nordic countries, so it is no surprise that the best place in the U.S. to explore cultures of the north is located there. The new Nordic Museum built in the neighborhood of Ballard, an ancient quarter of Nordic immigrants, replaces the Nordic Museum that opened in a schoolhouse in 1980's. Instead of solely telling the history of Nordic immigration, the new building hosts exhibitions about contemporary art, design, technology, social innovations and way of living.
The building, designed by Mithun and Ralph Appelbaum Associates with a contribution of a Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, also represents the Nordic experience itself with its 34-foot-tall entry hall imitating a fjord. In the hall, visitors are introduced to Nordic ways of thinking by explaining our special concepts such as "sisu", a Finnish concept of resilience, determination, and gutsiness.
Finland was represented from various angles in the permanent collections, temporary exhibitions as well as in the opening festivities. The permanent exhibition explores the Nordic history and the evolution of Nordic culture includes, for example, a Finnish sauna built in 1905, traditional costumes and crafts, a Jopo bicycle and facts about social innovations and other factors that make the Finns the world's happiest nation. Finnish contemporary art is showcased in temporary exhibition Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed with works by sculptor Kim Simonsson. Finnish design objects by for example Marimekko and Iittala are sold in the museum's shop and a Finnish singer-songwriter Mikko Joensuu played at the opening concert.
The opening festivities were of course a celebration of Nordic art and culture, but also a platform for Nordic-American cooperation, as the opening ceremony had representatives from every Nordic country. The Finnish Ambassador to the United States H.E. Kirsti Kauppi stated: "My wish is that this fabulous the Nordic Museum will be a convening place for all interested in the Nordics - our history, what we are today and how we face the future together with our American friends!"
Find out more: http://nordicmuseum.org/
The Nordic Museum
2655 NW Market Street
Sources: Nordic Museum, Wall Street Journal, Helsingin Sanomat