Editor's note: The video above was originally published in February 2019.
Ballard’s Nordic Museum received a new designation Thursday. The museum, which pays tribute to the neighborhood’s northern European roots, will now be known as the “National Nordic Museum.”
It’s a designation which brought together foreign leaders, and even two Senators from both sides of the aisle. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, both smiled and hugged as they stood at the celebration of a new name.
“Isn't it wonderful to see a Republican Senator and a Democrat Senator on the same stage?” said Nordic Heritage Museum Board Director Tom Malone.
The title change was part of a massive lands package sponsored by Cantwell and Murkowski, which breezed through Congress and was signed by President Trump.
Murkowski said Cantwell came to her in the process and said, “I need your help with this little museum,” and helped get the language into the bill.
The museum, located on Market in Ballard, was built for close to $50 million and includes displays and artifacts from all the Northern European countries, whose settlers are deep-rooted in Ballard.
“It has the soul of the Nordic countries,” said Finnish Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi. “It has the contents that bring the Nordic countries and U.S. together.”
Kauppi wasn’t the only foreign leader at Thursday’s event. She was joined by Una Saerun Johannsdottir, the counselor of economy, culture, and science from the Embassy of Iceland.
“I was pleasantly surprised, it feels like being home,” said Johannsdottir. “We don’t have a Nordic Museum anywhere like this in the world.
The museum’s formal announcement also included representatives from Greenland and the Danish embassy.
Museum leaders said the formal national title will give it greater credibility with visitors from Nordic countries and allow it to attract bigger traveling exhibitions.