An early 1900s redbrick grade school has been transformed into the Nordic Heritage Museum (3014 N.W. 67th St., 206/789-5707, www.nordicmuseum.com , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat., noon–4 p.m. Sun., $6 adults, $5 seniors and students, $4 ages 6–16 years, and free for kids under 6), the only museum of its kind in America. The first floor opens with a lengthy and educational Dream of America exhibit, including the factors that pushed people to emigrate here in the 19th century.
Upper levels cover the new life—in tenement slums, logging camps, and aboard fishing boats—with more exhibits on explorations by the Vikings, changing art and craft displays, and a gift shop with books on the homeland. The third floor has individual spaces for each of the Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland.
The Nordic Heritage Museum is also home to Norwegian rosemaling classes; music, theater, and children’s programs; a research library; and the Scandinavian Language Institute (www.sliseattle.com ), where you can join classes in Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish. The museum is free on the first Tuesday of each month.
Come to the Nordic Heritage Museum on the weekend after the 4th of July for the Tivoli Festival with a pancake breakfast, food and craft booths, entertainment, and a beer garden. Return on the weekend after Thanksgiving for Yulefest, with traditional carols, Nordic crafts, and food.