Traveling Through Time and Place

National Nordic Museum

Seattle, WA

History, Geography and Identity

The new museum is organized around a linear ‘fjord’ that weaves together stories of homeland and the Nordic American experience. Bridges crossing the fjord intensify the experience of migration, connecting Nordic and Nordic American exhibits. A vertically-striated zinc skin wraps the building exterior; inside, fjord walls are composed of faceted white planes evoking its glacial origins.

Expanding Capabilities and Audiences

The museum opened to the public in 1980 in an old school building with minimal museum infrastructure. The new facility provides climate-controlled collection and exhibition space with expanded areas for teaching, events and exhibitions. A more-active location and interactive experience aim to engage a new generation of visitors.

A Community Presence

Active social areas – ‘kaffe,’ store, auditorium and classrooms – are permeable to the street and pedestrians, in contrast with the sheltering walls of exhibit areas. The streetscape evokes the archipelago, with sinuous shapes modulating the pedestrian edge.

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