When Norwegians immigrated to the United States in the early 19th century, the lure of vast open lands drew many to Midwestern regions—generally taken from Native Americans and newly available for homesteading. Set in the hilly northeast corner of Iowa, the town of Decorah was one of these immigrant settlements. They saw this new land as their “Western Home”—Vesterheim.
Today, Vesterheim is the name of the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School—a hybrid of craft and art collections, education, and architecture. In 2018, Snøhetta began an ambitious master plan with the goal of uniting the disparate folk and vernacular buildings, 19th-century commercial structures,
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