4th Grade Immersion Project

Location: Vesterheim 502 West Water St., Decorah, IA 52101
Event Dates: Mon, May 15 thru Sun, May 21, 2017

4th Grade Immersion Project

Area fourth-grade students are proud to present an exhibition of their pioneer projects and journals! The projects were created while participating in the Pioneer Immersion Program, a collaboration between area schools and Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center. The exhibition will be at Vesterheim in the third-floor galleries of the museum’s Main Building, from May 15 to 21, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

There will be an Open House on Thursday, May 18, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with free admission and refreshments. Opening greetings will be at5:30 p.m.

The students participating in the exhibition are from the Decorah Community Schools and North Winneshiek School. The Pioneer Immersion Program is sponsored this year by the 2016 Deck the Tablesevent.

Each spring, Vesterheim becomes a classroom for fourth-grade students. In March and April, students and their teachers from Decorah and North Winneshiek schools make five visits to the museum, immersing themselves in the history and culture of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century immigrants. 

This program uses the Norwegian-American experience as a jumping-off point for exploring the experiences of other immigrant groups during the time period. Students use artifacts, archival materials, and hands-on activities to gain a better understanding of what it meant for immigrants to journey from their homelands and establish new lives in America.

Prior to their visits to the museum, the students create immigrant identities for themselves using immigrant diaries, documents, and other sources. The students record their impressions and thoughts in their own journals as they take part in activities like packing an immigrant trunk, constructing a “log” home, and completing a series of typical pioneer chores. Along with their journals, students make a project related to immigrant or pioneer history.

Through 33,000 objects and 12 historic buildings, Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center in Decorah, Iowa, shares the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world. This treasure is also a center for folk-art education, offering a wide variety of classes in authentic Norwegian folk art every year. For more information on the museum’s exhibitions, classes, events, membership opportunities, and ways to donate, check Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

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