The United States Senate recently passed a bill that was driven by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) to give the Nordic Museum national recognition as part of the Natural Resources Management Act. Recently approved by the House of Representatives and signed by President Trump, the Act also permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund; there’s also legislation for restoring the Yakima River Basin, new wildfire fighting technology through drone use and GPS, improving volcano monitoring systems, as well as adding five new national monuments and designating 1.5 million acres as the Pacific Northwest’s very first National Heritage Area from Ellensburg to Seattle, Washington, along I-90.
Senator Cantwell said in a statement that “the Nordic Museum is a capstone of a long story about Nordic heritage in Seattle.” It’s located in the early Nordic settlement of Ballard and is the only U.S. museum that showcases 12,000 years of Nordic influence, impact, and values focused on Nordic immigrants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and more.
The designation is to preserve and educate Nordic art, culture, and history, and to recognize the museum’s work. Cantwell states, “Establishing the National Nordic Museum will help support local tourism and drive economic development as well as help further preserve our region’s Nordic history, and maritime and fishing heritage.” CEO of the Nordic Museum Eric Nelson appreciates, “the work that Senator Cantwell and the entire Washington State delegation have done to make this national designation possible.”
This designation, explains Nelson, will be a big boost for Ballard tourism and will help the museum generate support from the private sector. He continues, “This national designation does not require any taxpayer dollars, but it will help us to reach more people and build stronger economic and cultural bonds between the Nordic region and the United States, particularly here in Washington State where one out of every eight residents claims Nordic heritage.”