Norsk Museum to open summer season with 'Taste of Norway' June 1

  • The Norsk Museum, which is dedicated to Norwegian art, worship and industry, will open for the summer season on Saturday, June 1, with breakfast and exhibits.

    The Norsk Museum, which is dedicated to Norwegian art, worship and industry, will open for the summer season on Saturday, June 1, with breakfast and exhibits. Courtesy of Norsk Museum

  • The Skagerrak, a replica Viking ship, will be among exhibits on display when the Norsk Museum opens its 45th annual season June 1 in Norway, Ill.

    The Skagerrak, a replica Viking ship, will be among exhibits on display when the Norsk Museum opens its 45th annual season June 1 in Norway, Ill. Courtesy of Norsk Museum

Submitted by Norsk Museum
Posted5/23/2019 10:23 PM

The fifth annual Taste of Norway breakfast June 1 will benefit the Norsk Museum in Norway, Ill., and kickoff the museum's summer season, its 45th annual exhibition.

A traditional Norwegian breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Norway Community Building, 3676 E. 2603rd Road in Sheridan, off Route 71.


The breakfast menu includes fried Kumla and ham, Norwegian waffles with lingonberries, Guma, Lefse, Kringla and coffee. Also, samples of modern Norwegian fare will include open-faced sandwiches, fish, hard-boiled eggs and brown cheese.

The public is invited. Advance tickets are $8 for adults or $10 at the door. Children's tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. For reservations or more information, call (815) 343-5070.

Sons of Norway Cleng Peerson Lodge scholarship winners Julia Gromm, Katelynn Johnson and Logan Komater will receive $500 scholarships at 8:30 a.m.

After breakfast, the public is invited to the nearby Norsk Museum to view exhibits indoors and outdoors.

The Skagerrak, a one-third scale replica Viking ship, will be displayed on the front lawn. It was hand built in 2016 by John Maack at Waukegan Harbor, who then donated it to the museum.

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Indoors, renowned rosemaler Lynn Sove Maxson will demonstrate Norwegian decorative painting on wood. New exhibits include "Norwegians in the Military," work of Norwegian artist Lars Fletre and Dick Davis' Viking ship sculpture.

The public is invited to play the ancient Viking game of Kubb on the front lawn.

Also, Enger's Norwegian Gifts, Hardanger embroidery and the Sloopers of America will be on site at the community center.

After breakfast, stop by for the opening day of the Norsk Museum, a Norwegian cultural center at 3656 E. 2631st in Sheridan.

The museum is supported by volunteers from the Sons of Norway lodges Cleng Peerson of Ottawa and Polar Star of Montgomery.

Museum hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from June through September. Group tours are available at other times on request. Staffed by volunteers, the museum is a nonprofit, nontax supported institution funded by events and donations.


Dave Johnson, museum board president, said donations of photos, artifacts and other items of historical significance and volunteers are needed. Objects with a known local history are of particular interest.

For information, call (815) 343-5070, email or visit

The museum, dedicated to Norwegian art, worship and industry, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. It occupies the former Hauge Lutheran Church built in 1850.

The museum occupies a former church led by Elling Eielsen (Hauge Synod), a Norwegian immigrant who began Lutheran worship services in North America in 1839.

Not only is the building the oldest Norwegian Lutheran Church in North America, it was built in the oldest permanent Norwegian settlement in North America, founded in 1825 by pioneer Cleng Peerson and the Sloopers. Cleng Peerson is known as the father of Norwegian Immigration. The Sloopers were Norwegian Quakers and Quaker sympathizers, who came to America in 1825. They sailed on the ship Restauration with 46 passengers and a crew of six.

Material for the present building was hauled 70 miles from Chicago to Norway, Illinois by wagon and oxen. It was used as a house of worship from its dedication in 1848 to it's decommissioning in 1918. Since then, it was used by the nearby Fox River Lutheran Church as a meeting place. In 1977, the Norwegian Center Inc., members of the Cleng Peerson Lodge, purchased the old church for $15,000.

The building reflects carpentry by pioneer Norwegian craftsmen. All the structural beams in the attic were hand hewed from soft pine and fastened with wooden (hard wood) pegs rather than nails. The ends of some of the beams in the attic still bear various craftsmen's symbols stamped into the wood.

Wood wainscoting in the sanctuary, painted to resemble other varieties of wood, features some of the best of Norwegians artistry, according to renovators. These boards were installed vertically, and then they were painted to imitate horizontally installed boards. This was a way on the part of thrifty Norwegians to make inexpensive wood appear to be a more exotic type of wood. Each door in the church also bears its own coat of wood-grained paint and a small balcony is held by round wood pillars with painted grains.

The museum collection was donated by local families in honor of their ancestors, including many articles brought with emigrants from Norway. Since 1977, the museum collection has outgrown the original church, so the museum board built its first addition to include room to display kitchen artifacts and "indoor plumbing" bath rooms, not 1840s authentic however. Later, a large second wing was built to hold the expanding collection of furniture and farm tools.

The church building is a testimonial to Elling Eielsen (Hauge Synod), the Norwegian who first began Lutheran services in North America in the Fox River area of Norway, Illinois in 1839. In 1841, the first church built by Eielsen, a log cabin structure, burned after several years use, and the building there today took its place.

Eielsen was born in Voss, Norway, 70 miles east of Bergen on Sept. 19, 1804. As a young man he went to Bergen to learn the trades of blacksmithing and carpentering, which was later helpful for the immigrants in America.

His Majesty King Olav V of Norway dedicated the Cleng Peerson Memorial on Oct. 17, 1975, as part of the "150th Anniversary of Norwegian Immigration." During that week, King Olav V also stopped to view the Norsk Museum.


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