Norway, Illinois is the first permanent Norwegian settlement in North America, settled in 1835 by the Sloopers, led by Cleng Peerson. The Sloopers were immigrants who came to America on the sloop Restaurasjonen, arriving in New York in 1825 and later coming to Illinois.
The museum began in 1978 in the oldest Norwegian Lutheran
Church in America The museum is dedicated to Norwegian
culture and strives to honor and preserve the memory of the
Norwegian forefathers who settled in the area. The museum
continues to provide a link to the past and its continued
preservation into the future. The museum features household
items, spinning wheels, rosemaling, bunads, a Viking display,
immigrant's trunks, early farm tools and so much more.
The building is an excellent example of carpentry by pioneer Norwegian craftsmen. All the structural beams in the attic were hand hewn 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. Material for the building was hauled 70 miles from Chicago to Norway (IL) by wagon and oxen. It was dedicated as a house of worship in 1848 replacing a log cabin church built in 1838 and was decommissioned as a church in 1918.
The Norsk Museum is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, June through September, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Special openings can be arranged for groups. Admission is free, but the museum is maintained from donations.
Directions: Norsk Museum 3656 E. 2631st Rd. Sheridan, Il 60551
Located directly behind the Norway Store on highway 71, 9 miles northeast of Ottawa, IL.
The Norsk Museum is voluntarily staffed and is a 501(c)3 nfp organization.
Checks should be made payable to The Norwegian Center, Inc.