Ballard’s Nordic Museum may be about to get some national recognition from Congress.

This week, the Senate passed a broad federal lands bill by a vote of 92-8, which includes protections for federal property, parks, and would prohibit mining in the Methow Valley.  The massive piece of legislation also includes a new federal designation for the Mountain to Sounds Greenway, volcano detection technology, and money for firefighter safety.

Also, buried deep within the text, a new name for the Ballard building: The National Nordic Museum.

“It's very prestigious for us,” acknowledged Museum CEO Eric Nelson.  He said the push is the result of years of work, and backing from Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, who attended the opening of the new Market Street location last year.  

“That designation puts us on par with those wonderful institutions. It allows us to continue to work, not only to attract scholars and academics but also fantastic exhibitions.”

Ballard was an early Nordic settlement, attracting Norwegians and Swedes for fishing and lumber jobs. That heritage, encompassing the many northern European countries, is celebrated at the museum.

The bill had bi-partisan support and is expected to pass the House as well.