Danish Museum Home


Current Exhibitions


Skål! Scandinavian Spirits

presented by Aalborg and Linie Aquavits

April 24 - October 25, 2015

Denmark, Norway and Sweden share a “spirited” tradition of enjoying beer and aquavit – sometimes together, sometimes separately.  This exhibition explores the cultural history of these beverages, follows those drinking traditions to Scandinavian-American communities, and answers questions like “What IS aquavit, anyway?” and “How do you ‘skål’ correctly?”   Fun, informative, and engaging, this exhibition will travel to Scandinavian museums across the United States between 2015 and 2017. 

This exhibition is developed in partnership with other Scandinavian-American museums, and will travel across the United States.

The national tour includes the following venues:

Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, Iowa                          April 24 – October 25, 2015

Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle                                             Dec 11, 2015 – Feb 28, 2016

Swedish American Museum, Chicago                                     March – July 2016

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Iowa                  August – December 31, 2016

American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia           January – June 2017

American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis                                July – December 2017

Elverhoj Museum, Solvang, California                                      January 2018 – tbd 

Additional venues in negotiation


This national traveling exhibition is made possible through the generosity of:

American Swedish Historical Museum - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Albert Victor Ravenholt Fund - Seattle, Washington

The American-Scandinavian Foundation -New York, New York


Curator's Choice: Art from the Permanent Collection

On view through May 10th

The best and favorite works from our vaults, as selected by our professional curators. See some of the pieces that are kept right here in Elk Horn, Iowa. 





Exploring Danish Happiness

On view through May 4, 2015
Denmark frequently makes news as “one of the happiest countries on Earth,” but what does that really mean?  How does one measure the “science of happiness?”  A group of researchers in Denmark formed the Happiness Research Institute and created an exhibition to share their findings.  This 10-panel exhibition is on view at the museum in the new multimedia room.  As of summer 2015, it will be available to travel to other organizations throughout the country; contact curator Tova Brandt to inquire about borrowing this exhibit for your community.   



Ongoing Exhibitions

Across Oceans, Across Time®

Our permanent exhibition entitled Across Oceans, Across Time® shares the story of early Danish immigrants to the United States. Through text, photographs, and artifacts, visitors learn of the factors that influenced decisions to immigrate, the challenges they faced and their accomplishments, and the lasting legacy of those brave travelers.

The expanded portion of this exhibition opened in 2008, and brings the story to the present day. The “Redesign” begins with the occupation during World War II and shares a more contemporary side of the immigration story, still with many of the same challenges as in generations past. This portion of the exhibit features hands-on components as well as audio and video segments, in addition to artifacts from the museum’s collection.

The expansion also includes a Lego play area. Play tables act as building stations and have drawers full of all sizes, shapes, and colors of Legos. A small Lego city and train set —the perfect area to keep small children busy for hours!

Learn about the impact that Danish immigrants and their descendants had and continued to have in American society, and about the strong relationship that exists between the two countries.


Genealogy Center Exhibits

Each year the Genealogy Center displays a photo exhibit in the lobby during the summer months. The exhibits feature photographs shared by museum members as well as ones from the Genealogy Center collection.

The 2014 photo exhibit was "Veterans of 1864," showcasing Danish immigrants who fought in the Dano-Prussian War. For further information contact Michele at 712.764.7008 or at librarian@danishmuseum.org.



Online Exhibitions

Experience the collections and stories of Danish America ONLINE!  You can explore highlights from the museum in Sampling the Collection, the newest online exhibition on this website.  Click the title to visit that page, or find it under the Online Media menu above.