Although Oslo is over 4,000 miles away, the Nordic countries have a major impact on the identity of Ballard. Although some say Ballard is losing its appeal, the former fishing village honors its Scandinavian history regularly. It is very much a part of being a Ballardite. To recognize its origins, Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum will be moving and expanding, becoming a more prominent symbol of downtown Ballard. The Nordic Heritage Museum will be in its fundraising stage for the next six months, as it raises money for the $55 million construction of its new museum and cultural center at 2600-2800 Ave and NW Market St. in Ballard, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.
Expected to be completed in late 2014, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will highlight the past and present of Scandinavian history, as it morphs into a neighborhood hub west of 24th. Looking at early conceptual designs, the future neighborhood hub will resemble a fjord and feature exhibit space, an auditorium, event space, classrooms, a Nordic classroom, and more. It will be three-stories high and occupy 65,000 sq. ft, linking the retail center of Market St. with the business area of Ballard and the Ballard Locks. What I’m especially happy to hear is there is a Finnish native on the architect team, who specializes in Scandinavian design. Staying consistent with Scandinavian design, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will also have sustainable elements.
With the right planning, the Nordic Heritage Museum can have a very positive impact on Ballard. As the only pan-Nordic museum in the United States, it has the potential to be a tourist attraction, as well as an educational center. With all the real estate construction and changes happening in Ballard, it’s nice to know that Ballard isn’t forgetting its roots.