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Minnesota Folk Arts Collection

Minnesota Folk Arts Collection

Link to Minnesota Folk Arts Collection website finding aid

The Minnesota Folk Arts Collection represents a variety of images, recordings and video from fieldwork conducted chiefly by Philip Nusbaum as well as John Berquist during their tenures at the Minnesota State Arts Board in the Folk Arts Program (1983-2003). The collection is a reflection of the diversity of cultures in Minnesota, including Ojibwas, Hmong-Americans, Slovenian-Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, Scandinavian-Americans and more. The scope of the collection is broad and includes documentation of a variety of folk arts from Armenian needlelace making to spear-fishing decoys. This fieldwork and research, as well as work conducted by other folklorists in the region, contributed to the Minnesota Traditional Music Series of commercial recordings, Minnesota Folk Arts radio shows, folk artist directories, apprenticeship and folklore sponsorship grant programs, festival demonstrations and performances, and teaching programs. Specifically, the Minnesota Traditional Music Series featured Norwegian-American, Ojibwa, Latino, African-American and polka musical traditions in Minnesota. It is within the material collected for this series that a number of recordings and images of Norwegian-American musicians and musical gatherings and events can be found, making up the bulk of the Norwegian-American materials in this collection. Musicians such as the Bjorngjeld family, Bill Sherburne, Archie Tiegen, and Viola Lee are represented in this collection, providing a valuable source of Norwegian-American tunes, many of which are performed by past musicians. 

News & Events

Annually in May

Syttende Mai
Celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day with a children’s parade and other activities, free admission to the museum all day. Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, Decorah, IA 

Syttende Mai Costitution Day
Folk dance performances and parade in Stoughton WI

Annually in July

Annual Fiddle Workshop
Hardanger Fiddle Association Annual Workshop at Folklore Village