The Nordic Museum in Ballard is now officially the National Nordic Museum, thanks to a bill passed by Congress and signed by the president.
Big news – under a bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, we are now the NATIONAL Nordic Museum! What a tribute to 40 years of hard work by volunteers, staff, & community members. Thank you @MariaCantwell for leading this effort! https://t.co/VMxlNsqEr5 pic.twitter.com/lGbU0u8qkc
— Nordic Museum (@thenordicmuseum) March 15, 2019
The bill, driven by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, is part of the Natural Resources Management Act, a broad package legislation of 110 total bills.
The Nordic’s designation is to recognize the museum’s work to preserve and educate the public about Nordic history, culture, and art. It’s the only museum in the U.S. that’s solely focused on Nordic immigrants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
One of the biggest parts of the new legislation is the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Additionally, there’s legislation for Yakima River Basin restoration, new technology for fighting wildfires through the use of drones and GPS, improving volcano monitoring systems, and designating 1.5 million acres of land along I-90 from Ellensburg to Seattle as the Pacific Northwest’s first National Heritage Area.
“The Nordic Museum is a capstone of a long story about Nordic heritage in Seattle,” Senator Cantwell said in a statement. “Establishing the National Nordic Museum will help support local tourism and drive economic development as well as help further preserve our region’s Nordic history, and maritime and fishing heritage.”
Eric Nelson, CEO of the Nordic, says the designation, “acknowledges the hard work and investment that the local community has made in creating a world-class museum.” He also said it will be a big boost for tourism in Ballard, will help the museum generate support from the private sector, and will “stimulate economic and cultural bonds between the Nordic region and Washington State, and indeed the entire country.”