Nordic Museum

Seattle, Washington

The Nordic Museum is the only museum devoted to the culture, history, and shared values of the five Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland and their impact on the U.S. The core exhibits trace 12,000 years of Nordic history and centuries of Nordic American immigrants through the Museum’s collection of 77,000 items and loans. The experiences at the Nordic Museum offer a visitor journey through Time, Place, and Culture. The stories told within the core exhibitions are rooted in the history of the Nordic region and extend to Nordic American communities across the United States and, specifically, the Pacific Northwest. What unfolds is both an immigrant story and a contemporary story of cross-cultural connections.


The Nordic Museum is both a local and national museum that brings an innovative international outlook. It is a platform for visitors to reflect, engage, and respond to the Nordic and Nordic American example in terms of what it means to discover our American identities through storytelling and artifacts as touchstones. This is part of the portrait of America – both mosaic and melting pot.


Providing a new lens on the immigration experience, the museum focuses equally on the countries of origin, the experience of immigrants, and the impact of those immigrants on American society, culture and politics while also creating a framework and platform for ongoing dialogue and exchange with the Nordic countries.


The concept of a journeyacross time and spaceis central to the visitor experience and is embedded directly into in the architectural framework. Visitors embark on their journey in the museum’s central Fjord Hall, then ascend into the core exhibitions on the second floor, which lie on either side of the central hall. Bridges between the Nordic Region and Nordic America galleries become the connective link between the two core exhibit experiences and create moments where visitors can pause and look down onto the grand sweep of Fjord Hall.

Nordic Museum

Mithun & Juhani Pallasmaa


57,000 square feet

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.