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Decorah’s Vesterheim museum to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, on Tuesday
May. 12, 2022 6:00 am, Updated: May. 12, 2022 3:22 pm
DECORAH — Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, invites everyone to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day, on Tuesday, both on campus in Decorah and online with a presentation from Norway.
Syttende Mai is the day Norway ratified its constitution in 1814 at Eidsvoll, and Norwegians celebrate with excited crowds — especially children — marching through the streets, waving flags and singing songs.
Vesterheim's celebration includes family events and an online presentation from Norway, which can be watched from the comfort of home or together with others at the museum. Admission is free all day, and the museum and store will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At noon (Central time), Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join online from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell “My Last 17 Mai in My Hometown, Now as a Red Russ,” her memories of russefeiring, a long-standing tradition for high school graduates in Norway. To watch from home, registration for the Zoom link is required and available at vesterheim.org. Or enjoy the presentation with others in Vesterheim's Westby-Torgerson Education Center. Coffee will be served.
At 12:45 p.m., Sharon Rossman will tell stories inspired by Nordic myths in the museum’s main building.
Gather for the children’s parade at 1 p.m. in Vesterheim Heritage Park. Norwegian flags will be given out at the entrance of the museum’s main building and the parade will start at 1:15 p.m. Everyone is invited to march along.
At 1:30 p.m. on Mill Street next to the museum, there will be a Vesterheim welcome and a performance by Decorah’s Nordic Dancers. Visitors will be invited to dance as well.
There will be guided tours of the historic buildings in Vesterheim’s Heritage Park at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Also, look for livestreams on Vesterheim Facebook page.
Skogen grew up in the little town of Egersund, Norway, south of Stavanger. With an education in drama and storytelling, she runs her own storytelling business, telling stories for schools, organizations, festivals and companies.
The Nordic Dancers began in Decorah in 1966 and include a senior and junior group of dancers. The dancers begin as third-graders and make a 10-year commitment to continue through high school. They perform every year at various area festivals and traveled to Norway in 2016.
In case of inclement weather, visitors will see the parade through the museum and the Nordic Dancers will be canceled. All other activities will continue as planned.
This event was made possible by a gift to the Vesterheim Annual Fund from Jeff and Marilyn Roverud. The Roveruds have supported Vesterheim's Syttende Mai festivities for the past 24 years.
Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in the conversation of the American immigrant journey through the lens of the Norwegian-American experience. Vesterheim offers innovative and interactive exhibits, classes and programs, both at the campus and park in scenic Decorah, Iowa, and online at vesterheim.org and Vesterheim social media. For more information on exhibits, classes, programs, tours, membership opportunities and ways to donate and volunteer, connect at vesterheim.org, (563) 382-9681, and Vesterheim, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.