The Museum of Danish America (formerly the Danish Immigrant Museum)« Back to Last Page
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2212 Washington Street, Elk Horn, Iowa 51531
Mr. Astle described the building as follows: “The goal of this project was the creation of a major national center for Danish culture, with a focus on the history of Danish immigrants in America. A large rural site between Omaha and Des Moines was selected to reflect the rural heritage of Danish immigrants in this country, and to provide a location central to the immigrant population. On this site, the national Board of Directors hoped to erect a modern museum and visitors’ center that would reflect the spirit of Danish traditions, not to mimic the past, but to capture its essence. In addition to facilities for the storage, display, and study of artifacts, the program emphasized essential elements in the Danish heritage: the importance of children and the family, the central role of hospitality, and the relationship to the rural countryside. The resulting design provides space for a permanent collection, traveling exhibits, and hands-on exhibits. It includes food-service facilities to accommodate the hospitality that is an integral part of Danish culture; a semi-enclosed courtyard that opens onto the rolling landscape characteristic of immigrant farms; and multipurpose spaces to accommodate classes, performances, dance, demonstrations, slide shows, speakers, plays, public research area, and an information area. To support these activities, it includes administrative and curatorial offices; a reference library; provisions for handling, storing, and exhibiting materials; and shops and design work areas to allow the creation of exhibits.”1
1. Resume booklet from Astle/Ericson & Associates for the Wheeler Farm Activity Barn, “Correspondence and Article, 1991,” from The Neil L. Astle Papers, accn 1930, box 119, folder 16, pg. 28. From the Special Collections and Archives Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
2. Liz Martin, “Iowa All Over: Denmark on the Prairie,” The Gazette, July 1, 2015, http://www.thegazette.com/subject/life/people-places/iowa-all-over-denmark-on-the-prairie-20150830.