National Nordic Museum CEO Eric Nelson to retire next year

After 16 years at the helm of the National Nordic Museum, CEO and executive director Eric Nelson has announced his plans to retire.

Nelson announced his retirement last week, saying he’ll officially retire on July 1, 2024.

Nelson’s time leading the National Nordic Museum has been notable for many reasons. Along with spearheading the move to its current location on 2655 NW Market St, Nelson has led the museum into its current iteration of national recognition: The National Nordic Museum received a Congressional designation in 2019.

During his tenure, Nelson was knighted three times for his efforts to create an American platform “to explore and share Nordic culture, art, and values,” according to a press release from the museum. He was knighted first by the King of Norway, then by the King of Norway, and finally by the President of Finland.

Nelson took over leadership of the museum back in 2008 when it was a small community museum on Sunset Hill. Ten years later, he helped move it to its current $55 million iconic location.

“It’s been an amazing ride and I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped advance this extraordinary institution that celebrates and shares Nordic culture,” Nelson said in a statement.

“None of this would have been possible without our incredible staff, visionary community leaders, tireless volunteers, generous donors, international partners, Museum supporters, and so many others.”

Nelson said the next nine months will be focused “on the transition and ensuring a successful platform for my successor.” The museum’s Board of Trustees has created a search committee and is in the process of finding an executive recruiting team to help with the national search for his successor.

“Eric has been the captain of our ship for 16 years, and he has guided us through a remarkable transformation into an institution that is both a regional treasure and a museum of national and international significance,” Hans Aarhus, President of the Board of the National Nordic Museum said in a statement.

“We are eternally grateful for his excellent leadership, amazing work, and the lasting legacy he built for the community.”

Photo: National Nordic Museum