History of Museum
The Danish Immigrant Museum (a non-profit institution) was founded in 1983 to preserve the history of Danish immigration to America. In 1994 the first phase building, reminiscent of Danish architecture was completed, housing significant artifacts important to the interpretation of the Danish immigration story. The Museum opened in June of 1994 as a national center for the Danish-American community.
In October 2013 the museum officially adopted the name Museum of Danish America.
The museum's artifact collection of over 35,000 artifacts is diverse and wide ranging. There are family heirlooms brought from Denmark, remarkable examples of needlework, tools of early immigrant tradesmen and memorabilia from Danish-American clubs and organizations. Many of the items on display are treasures which have been passed down through the generations in Danish families.
Four organizations work in cooperation to preserve and study the Danish immigrant experience across the entire United States.
1. Museum of Danish America - Elk Horn, Iowa
2. Danish American Archive and Library in Blair, Nebraska
3. Danish Immigrant Archives - Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa
4. Danish American Heritage Society – Salem, Oregon
The museum's grounds are being transformed into the Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park, named for the colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright and the father of the Prairie School of Landscape Architecture. A pergola with interpretive panels about Jens Jensen's life and philosophies has been erected in the park, in addition to two council rings available for public use. Improvements and additions to the park are ongoing with the support of museum members and donors.
In the autumn of 2013 construction began on a 8,000 square foot curatorial expansion, located partially underground on the museum's west side. The space will meet storage needs for the care of the museum's expanding collection.