New Nordic Museum opens its doors

Updated: After several years of planning, fundraising and construction, the new Nordic Museum opened its doors in a windy outdoor ceremony on Market St. today. The museum officially completed its move from a much smaller building on Sunset Hill, its previous home since 1980.

“Many years ago there was some discussion about locating this museum in downtown Seattle or South Lake Union,” said CEO Eric Nelson, which prompted some playful boos from the crowd of several hundred in attendance. “But the museum decided that Ballard was the appropriate place for the Nordic Museum. Our front doors open to shops and restaurants, our back door to the working waterfront. The museum stands at the intersection of history and hipsters.”

“I congratulate all those who have worked so hard to design, construct and open this grand museum,” said Iceland President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson (above), while his bodyguards watched the audience. “(It’s) a testimony to Nordic culture and heritage as well as the strong ties between the Nordic countries and North America.”

Along with Jóhannesson, Her Royal Highness Mary the Crown Princess of Denmark joined in the opening remarks.

“May the museum be a source of pride and inspiration,” she said. “As it represents some of the happiest countries in the world, may it also be a source of great happiness for all who visit.”

“I was lucky growing up in Seattle to see Ballard throughout the years,” explained Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “My mother actually worked at the Ballard News Tribune for many years. I don’t think she’d recognize the Ballard of today. It has changed but it has evolved in a way, as you said, that it’s really reaching to be that connection between our past and what’s hip.”

The ambassadors of Sweden, Finland and Norway also said a few words.

“Seattle is one of my favorite places,” said Norway Ambassador Kåre Aas, noticing several Norwegian flags in the crowd. “The city combines natural beauty, fascinating people and a great maritime tradition in ways that remind me of Norway. No wonder then that Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest became the preferred destination for the latest wave of immigrants from Norway to the United States. This is beautifully illustrated inside the museum.”

With the remarks complete, dignitaries gathered in front of the entrance — with Scandinavian media gathered around — for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. After the dignitaries and press disappeared inside, the crowd followed a short time later.

Fjord Hall (above) divides the two main galleries, the northern side focuses on the Nordic Region and the southern side tells the story of Nordic America.

Officials and attendees with tickets toured the many exhibitions and collections on display. Nordic singers and traditional folk musicians performed on the outdoor stage and inside in the Great Hall — and they’ll be back again tomorrow.

While tickets were sold out today to see the museum galleries — which are upstairs in the building — there were still a few tickets available for tomorrow.

For more photos from inside the museum, My Ballard took an inside tour last week.

(All photos from My Ballard with the exception of the gallery tour above, which was provided by the Nordic Museum.)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

35 thoughts to “New Nordic Museum opens its doors”

  1. “I was lucky growing up in Seattle to see Ballard throughout the years,” explained Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “My mother actually worked at the Ballard News Tribune for many years. I don’t think she’d recognize the Ballard of today.

    Yeah it’s essentially a KOI but with more litter.

  2. The Nordic Heritage Museum, a lovely homage to all the Scandinavian, blue collar, maritime culture completely displaced from Ballard in the latest wave of colonization by rich tech workers. Should we expect an African American Museum in the CD and an International Museum in the ID as those areas are gentrified and their occupants displaced? Maybe we should also have a museum for all the trees developers are cutting down? A museums for small businesses as they’re replaced by chains and box stores?

  3. The Nordic Museum has moved out of its quaint Old Ballard digs, a 1907 schoolhouse, and into a modern 57,000-square-foot building on Market Street to continue to expand its mission of education on Nordic and Nordic American art, community, and history.

  4. Figers crossed, but I can’t see how this museum will attract an audience. Are that many people interested in Vikings? Now…it they can have a big display of Danish Modern Furniture, I’m in.

  5. Irrespective of the museum’s purpose and mission, the building looks awful. Like a jail.
    $52mil and this is what they came up with?
    Is the Board of Directors blind?

  6. My Grandmother actually came from Bergen way before 1900. I find it funny how heritage and history are boring to some. It’s also funny that people pick and choose what history to ignore or be outraged by as well. @ Matt: try the History Channel.

  7. Hey Geeky Swedes, there was a bit of drama later that day at the Gala.

    “Rumors swirled over the weekend on Facebook suggesting that Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien and his wife were kicked out of the opening night gala for the newly-opened Nordic Museum at a local shipyard on Friday, May 4.On the way out, while escorted by staff, O’Brien’s wife allegedly shouted “[Expletive] the fisherman!” On Monday morning, a manager with the Pacific Fishermen Shipyard said O’Brien was not welcome due to his “political positions contrary to our business.” The gala was held on private property.”

  8. Are we talking about Julie O’Brien, owner of Firefly Kitchens who makes kimchee (cultural appropriation!). The same social justice warrior who used “volunteer labor” at her company kitchen in Ballard. You know, free labor, not $15 an hour labor. And then she gave us this glorious quote:

    “I think one of the biggest things we do is we have volunteers come in and obviously it’s a win-win for us,” O’Brien said in the January 8 episode. “Because when we started, we didn’t have any money and we still don’t.”

    Shame Amazon actually pays it’s employees in Seattle. They should have used Julie “•••• the fisherman” O’Brien’s model.

    Maybe someone shouldn’t have given her that second shot of Aquavit on Saturday night.

  9. @Simple Jack

    It’s pretty obvious that unless someone works in tech, for the city, a nonprofit, or lives off daddy’s trust fund, the city “leaders” pretty much think that you’re a “reactionary deplorable” peasant worthy of scorn, parking tickets, punitive taxation, and all manner of social justice gestapo harassment tactics.

    People like Sawant and O’Brien make development deals or money in tech then squawk about “historical colonization” so they can guilt naive nimrods into paying for their golden parachutes. It’s a simple scam that has worked so well that now they’re arrogant and enraged at the backlash now that the voters are waking up to the reality of the city’s condition.

  10. You guys sit here and defame real people with your fake handles and sockpuppet accounts, and you will never be held accountable. It’s open season to libel any politician you want — the courts have said they consider repeating the lies and garbage Jason Rantz fed you a part of healthy political discourse. Everybody knows that smearing politicians, and even their families, does nothing but drives decent citizen away from the political process. That’s why Putin’s paid trolls work so hard to imitate the likes of Rantz or Dori Monson. Or their mentor, Limbaugh. They don’t care what happens, or who wins or loses, as long as it spreads distrust, and chaos, and cynicism.

    The foreign agents who benefit from undermining American democracy learned everything from these American right wing radio frauds. And now Seattle’s local anonymous lowlifes will do Putin’s work for free. At least the Russian agents were only doing it for a paycheck. It wasn’t personal.

    MyBallard’s fake news commenters are in it all for the yuks. And this website profits regardless. An ad hit is a hit. Nobody is going to sue this website for ruining a person’s reputation with fake comments and links to fake news, so I guess the swedes win. Everybody else loses.

  11. Elenchos, TLDR again, but maybe you missed the part where Weepy Mike O’Brien admitted his wife didn’t pay her workers. But since it was organic produce and sold in farmer’s markets, she thought it was ok.

  12. Nobody cares about that Dori Monson story. Nobody complained to L&I, and it’s a big nothing. I know, I know, I know, you guys think it’s a big gotcha. You guys chant “lock her up” and I believe you really believe she ever did anything to be locked up for and is going to be locked up some day.

    I totally get the fact that in MAGA world these “crimes” and “scandals” are real. And I accept the fact that neither I or anybody else will get you to admit that the Seattle voters don’t buy it and the legitimate Seattle media doesn’t buy it. When you have a tinfoil hat mentality, lack of proof and lack of legitimacy make you more fanatical.

    And so you’re going to keep at it. Have fun. Enjoy losing, as usual.

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  14. “And now Seattle’s local anonymous lowlifes will do Putin’s work for free. At least the Russian agents were only doing it for a paycheck. It wasn’t personal.”

    That’s the thing, @Elenchos. For a lot of people, this is personal. Is it a losing battle? Possibly. When I read today on KOMO that we’ve spent 53 million to permanently house 5000+ people, that made me feel good. But when they post-script that story with ‘a lot of that came from charities or friends’, then where did the majority of the 53 million go? While I would call 5K+ people off the streets a success, I still don’t see monetary accountability, and I think that’s all I, and many of the commenters here, are asking for.
    We’re within the letter of the law to ask what our tax monies are being spent on, and that’s not Russian trolling or doing it for a paycheck. If anything, it’s doing it to find out where our paycheck is going.

    I expect you to come back with ‘same old sockpuppetry trolling’ and then some ranting about white privilege, so go ahead, get out your pencil, write your reply, and make it suspenseful.

  15. Did you read Paul Constant’s post on Medium? Or Erica Barnett’s? The burning question is why this is going to work now, when it didn’t work for Scott Lindsey or that Safe Seattle guy who got 2,000 votes in the mayor primary? Why didn’t it work for Catherine Weatbrook?

    You start off asking for good government and fiscal accountability. Great. Next thing you know, you’re carrying water from Vulcan and Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting. Trumpers and white supremacists are on your bandwagon. You have friends like Jason Rantz. Jason Rantz. Wenatchee likes that guy, sure. Bellevue? Sure. Seattle? No. Seattle hates wingnut shock jocks.

    And Mike O’Brien gets re-elected in another landslide. Surprise!

    People like Constant and others are saying you’re repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Why would this time be any different from all the other times?

    You want fiscally responsible government. Great. I don’t think you’ll get it by replaying the same failed Tea Party/MAGA strategy.

  16. @Elenchos

    Feel free to look at the names of the signers as they scroll up. I think it’s safe to say these aren’t “white supermacists” but simply citizens of all ethnicities concerned about public safety.

    Your racist obsession with “white people” is a byproduct of this Tumbler/Facebook/Twitter fake outrage culture designed for, and largely by, a bunch of spoiled brats who think we are one good purge away from Utopia.
    It’s fashionable, and you want the flashing shiny thing on the screen to be true. It’s understandable.
    You guys would actually be dangerous if you didn’t end up in ridiculous arguments with each about the colors of pu*sy hats, banning single sex bathrooms, or in Facebook’s case, sabotaging their own echo chamber by committing fraud and data theft.

    Your elitism is also on full display when you bash places like Wenatchee and Bellevue. Left wingnuts exist, and many live here in Seattle. We can see the results when guys brag about the “Dynamic Tech Economy” of the Blue cities, then start condemning those same tech companies when they push back at the insane taxes and local policies. You’re as insane as the fundamentalists in red states who pass arbitrary laws because of their religious beliefs, whereas you guys watch a couple TED talks or read an editorial by a Lena Dunham-wannabe and think yourselves enlightened by taxing your neighbors to death or putting them at risk for crime while forcing them to pay for it.

    SAD! Many such cases!

  17. Why don’t you explain why Catherine Weatbrook lost then? Why did Scott Lindsay lose? Why did Harvey Lever come in EIGHTH (ouch)?

    It’s boring and repetitive the way you sit here calling me names. Who cares? You repeat the same words so often they lose their meaning. You call everyone who disagrees with you the same slurs, no distinctions. How can I take anything you say personally? You call people the same names when you’re mad at your boss or your eggs and bacon are cold. Meaningless noise.

    Do you know you’re not going to recall O’Brien, and he’s going to be re-elected in 2019? And you don’t care? You know you can’t win and you’re just wailing against forces you can’t control? Is that it?

    Do you think anything you’re saying now is new? You guys smeared Mike O’Brien’s wife in 2011, and in 2015. You inflated the crime rate and pretended the city is drowning in violence and property crime, in 2011, and 2015, and 2017. Every word. Not one single thing about your whole deal now has changed at all. Are you expecting different results now? Why?

  18. “It’s boring and repetitive the way you sit here calling me names. Who cares? You repeat the same words so often they lose their meaning. You call everyone who disagrees with you the same slurs, no distinctions. How can I take anything you say personally? You call people the same names when you’re mad at your boss or your eggs and bacon are cold. Meaningless noise.”
    Keep telling yourself that, when I believe you’re the first one to whip out “you’re all white supremacists, MAGA-hat wearing Trumptards.” I think somebody hurt Elenchos’ FEE FEES and now she’s mad. You’re probably a participation-trophy receiving trust-funder that never got told no by her folks, and now that you can’t immediately win an argument on a neighborhood blog, you resort to name calling, hoping everyone else will just give in and see it your way.
    Oh…you know who tried to win arguments by strong-arming dissenters? Nazis! You’ve more in common with them than the other people on here trying to foment reasonable discourse…despite the fact that you claim to be non-white. Ideologies don’t have to follow racial lines, Elenchos. Might want to be a little more careful with your rhetoric in the future.

  19. What’s the difference between “The Resistance” and those against Mike O’Brien. Both are not going to lead to anything (O’Brien is getting reelected and Trump is not getting impeached (and probably 50/50 reelected)).

  20. “Might want to be a little more careful with your rhetoric in the future.”

    Go back and read or crosscut or the Seattle Times or anything you want leading up to Weatbrook’s embarrassing loss in 2015. I was there, with the same rhetoric. You guys were calling me a trust funder and a virtue signaler and you said I had participation trophy. Lazy reporters said homeowners were really angry this time. They said all the same things.

    Try it. Look up the history. You have to do a double take because you think you’re reading a post from yesterday and it’s actually from 2014 or 2015 or 2016. Same words. Same merry go round. And with the virtue of hindsight, we look back on those stories and say, “heh, they had no idea. They gave way too much credit to a loud minority. The voters are far younger, more progressive, and more compassionate than these websites in 2014 and 2015 thought they were.”

    Go back to 2013 and read what everyone was saying about Kshama Sawant the first time she won. I was being called the same names. You guys were making the same wrong predictions. I was told I should wise up and change my rhetoric.

    You guys know nothing has changed, except the electorate now is even younger, even more liberal, more racially diverse, and even more galvanized to action because of Trump and Parkland and all the rest. Especially in Seattle. You guys can’t think of one reason why 2018 or 2019 will be any different. That’s why whenever I ask you the question you won’t answer and you start with your generic put-downs.

    It’s all a tantrum. You know you lost a long time ago and now you’re acting out of spite.

  21. “That’s why whenever I ask you the question you won’t answer and you start with your generic put-downs.”
    You are correct that Seattle votes liberal and progressive, every single time. However, that doesn’t mean that political views can’t shift. As your ‘younger, even more progressive’ voters age in, they might decide they’d actually like a piece of property not over-run with the homeless, and that maybe, just maybe, they’d like a city council that listened to them. You and yours are, after all, the future property tax payers of Ballard and the rest of Seattle. When renters realize the housing crisis doesn’t just affect middle aged property owners, but the owners of the properties they rent (hence the rising rents), then maybe they’ll change their votes. But then again, maybe not. Seattleites vote with their hearts not their minds, and no blog post is likely to change that.
    But, again, maybe you need to lay off the vitriol. Currently, you and ‘yours’ are winning, why are you acting like a sore winner, instead of trying to reasonably, with language that leaves room for others to join the conversation, attempting to ‘teach’ others why their viewpoints might be wrong and yours might deserve a second consideration? All you do is call people MAGA-loving Trumptards, when I’m betting most of the people on this blog (myself included) voted Democrat in the last election? I’ve not tried to put you down any more than you try to put everyone who disagrees with you down. Again, if someone took your ball or hurt your FEE FEES, take it up with them personally. Strafing an entire comments section only makes you look like a bully in victory or defeat.

  22. @Homeless on the Range
    Stop wasting your breath. People like Elenchos are so racist and hate-filled they take sick glee (“schadenfruede”, for those who read books here) in watching a formerly clean, safe city turn into a California mess because it isn’t sufficiently dangerous and scuzzy by the standards set by Jezebel magazine or the NYT.

    Neighbors listen to the concerns of neighbors. Say that slowly and repeat it, Children of Social Justice.

    Shrill activists and extremists seek to implement widespread upheaval in the name of some fantasmagoric “progress” and don’t care if it means you lose your livelihood, your house via taxation, or even your life if attacked by one of their subsidized felons wandering loose. They laugh while spilling bong water. Only a peasant jerk reactionary fool WORKS for a living!

    Don’t be a NIMBY, just agree with them and accept your destruction. These people half-understood a course they took on continental philosophy, or a community college teacher felt it was easier to vilify taxpayers and turn the delinquents into “victims of oppression” instead of telling them to study harder and stay out of jail.
    As to their leadership, they are silver spoon types who preach to the trust fund choir because they all feel guilty about dad making his fortune for Raytheon, IBM, or McDonnell Douglas, and they are as corrosive as they are misguided and naive.

  23. @Bhagwan
    If @Elenchos is a silver-spoon trust-funder, she’ll be moving to her home in Magnolia with a view of the sound in a few years…right after her car gets broken into, and she’s so frightened she asks ‘daddy’ for the rest of her inheritance early. She’ll then promptly forget about social justice, homelessness, and the working class, and instead create fake crises about the nanny, the maid, and how out of date her bathroom is.
    If, on the other hand, she’s working class, she’ll eventually struggle to get on the property ladder in Ballard, or, more likely, throw her hands up that her years of advocating for social programs has left no affordable property for her in the city, and move out to Edmonds to make her future there.
    Either way, most people age out of having time for SJW concerns, and become much more insular and protective of their families and immediate surroundings. I too was once more concerned about the plights of others than of myself…

  24. At last!

    A simple answer to a simple question. Your plan is to stay on the same merry go round. Everything that didn’t work in 2013, 2015, 2017, etc., you’re going to do all that again. Thank you so much for finally answering. I’m not sure I can believe it. You really did it. Answered. The. Question. Wow.

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe next time will be different than all the other times. Could happen.

    Does it shock and surprise you so much that there are people who are skeptical of that? A lot of us think that if you tried something three, four, five, six times, and it failed every time, then it’s probably going to fail again unless you change something. That’s a normal, common sense way of thinking about the future. Normal. Not trust funders, not virtue singnallers, not snowflakes and whatever other words are on your right-wing insult bingo card. Normal people think what failed in the past will fail again.

    By the way, people who voted Democratic in the last election say “Democratic”. People who watch Fox News all day, and listen to right wing talk radio all day, and always vote Republican, say “Democrat”. But you do you.

  25. @Elenchos

    Well clearly the tax-and-burn policies attitude regarding citizens’ money is working well. Shoveling money at drug addicts is simply brilliant, something worthy of a true civic genius.

    Pro tip: not all of us speak “twitter” so I’m not sure what “you do you means” but I see 14 year olds using that expression, so maybe it has something to do with having a sub 115 IQ. Also, believe it or not, conservatives get their views from classic philosophy, classic literature, orthodox religion, and thousands of years of human folly and advancement – you know – all those books you social justice types want banned because they’re too difficult to understand.

    The “right wingers are idiots brainwashed by Fox News” canard is pretty funny considering the left keeps falling over themselves to LOWER standards in public school because they can’t admit ruining families and abandoning discipline makes children unteachable. You guys get your cultural cues from ACTORS. Comedy!

    I’m not surprised, then, that you think 2+2=5.

  26. @Elanchos
    Finally you answered my question! I can’t believe it! With your sockpuppet answer, I wouldst speaketh the thing that I wouldn’t never had spoken: well done, well played, well spoken!
    You want to feel flattered, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you? Admititeth! Your the real reason my lightbulb talks to me! You know that, don’t you? Don’t you?
    You do realizeth that this is an article about the Nordic Heritage Museum?

  27. Citizen’s money? You mean the new tax for Amazon and Vulcan and them? Hard working taxpayers!

    LOL. Are you even in Washington? Are you located anywhere in the US? You have no idea why there is a difference between saying “Democratic” and “Democrat”? All news to you. You speculate that maybe it’s something teenagers made up? If I were to ask you to look out a window and tell me what’s written on side of the Space Needle right now, could you do it? Or would you be Googling up a photo that was taken weeks or months ago?

    In your country you were told that Amazon is owned by a hardworking salt-of-the-earth citizen? An average Joe that we all have a beer with down by our 200 foot yachts? Citizens are outraged that their good friends at Vulcan are going to have less profits. Hilarious.

    If you’re going to sock, research the character you’re going to play. It’s the little details that make all the difference.

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  29. “If you’re going to sock, research the character you’re going to play. It’s the little details that make all the difference.”
    I thought maybe we could have, you know, a civil discourse, but…even in apparent victory, you’re still a sore winner, as I’d predicted previously. I know, I know…mommy coddled you and said you could do anything! So here you are, venting your spleen at so-called right-wingers and sockpuppets. BTW, your ranting sounds more like right-wing favorite Alex Jones than anything I or anyone else has posted in response to one of your stream-of-consciousness posts.
    And also, nobody makes the distinction between Democrat and Democratic when talking about which candidate’s party they voted for. If you’re down to arguing semantics, you might want to admit it’s time to take your ball and go home. Now, did we hurt your FEE FEES yet?

    “…people who voted Democratic in the last election say “Democratic”. People who watch Fox News all day, and listen to right wing talk radio all day, and always vote Republican, say “Democrat””

    People who understand the English language and our political system differentiate between Democrat and democratic. People who watch Fox News all day probably use the term “moonbat progressive leftie tool.”

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