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Our vision is to create a permanent collection in Brooklyn that documents the lives of Scandinavians who settled throughout the East Coast of theUnited States, and to educate the public about this group's role in the history of Scandinavian immigration to the United States: in the communities they established throught the East Coast, and in the history of New York.

Welcome to the Scandinavian East Coast Museum!



The exhibition "Brooklyn/Norway: A Visual Interpretation" will hold an opening party on Wednesday, April 1st at 6:00 pm at the Danish Athletic Club. located at 741 - 65th Street.

This exhibit came out of the following Call to Artists. The relationship between Brooklyn and Norway, spans back 400 years. In 1609 a 14 year old boy from Arendal, Norway, Jens Munk, sailed up the Brooklyn coast as part of Henry Hudson's crew. This exhibit focuses on the perceptions locals from each place have about the other, whether realistic, mythological or somewhere in between.

Today, both places serve as symbols of exotica, but, for different reasons. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines exotica as " things excitingly different or unusual." Today, Brooklyn epitomizes hip or cool world-wide, whether or not warranted. While Norway remains a place of Caucasian exotica, unknown by most, due to its geographic distance from much of the world and it's small population, (a little over 5 million today).

Scandinavian artists who reside in the New York area were asked to submit pieces that exemplify their view of Brooklyn. Brooklyn artists were asked to submit a visual interpretation of Norway.

The text of the exhibit evolved from the pieces submitted. Most of the participating artists hail or live in Brooklyn. They worked in a variety of mediums and we are happy to have included amazing work from children, ages 6 - 15.

This exhibit has been curated by Victoria Hofmo, President of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum and is partially funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs through the Brooklyn Arts Council's re-grant program. For further information, please call Victoria Hofmo at 718-748-5950














Monthly Highlight
The Scandinavian East Coast Museum is proud to present a new addition to our website,
the Monthly Highlight, which will feature a piece from our collection.

This plate is being given from the Estate of Evelyn (Paulsen) & Thomas Thompson.

Evelyn was born In Telemark, Norway In 1923 and lived In Kristiansand until moving to Bay Ridge at the age of three. Thomas was born in Bay Ridge in 1919, his parents were both from Farsund, Norway.They both grew up in Bay Ridge. Evelyn graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and Tom graduated from New Utrecht High Schoo,l and was a Sergeant in the Army, serving in France.

They both attended and were active members of 59th Street Church, where they eventually met, and were married in May of 1947. They had three boys, Brian, Steven & Donald, and later adopted a baby girl, Corinne. They moved out to North Merrick, Long Island to raise their family but returned to Bay Ridge often to visit family and friends and participate in events. Thomas passed away in 1982, and Evelyn passed away in 2012.

To all who see it,I hope this plate brings back many wonderful memories of 59th Street Church, and the many years of ministry it has had among the residents of Bay Ridge.

       Don Thompson










Our first highlight was a book entitled Tordenskjold, by Paul Anker, printed in 1890. On first glance this books grabs the eye with its beautiful illustrations. Its content is even more wonderful, as it introduces modern audiences to a a very prominent Norwegian naval man Peter Jansen Wessel Tordenskjold, nicknamed Thunder Shield. He was born in Trondheim in 1690 and moved to Copenhagen at age 14 where he began to work in the navy. (There was no independent Norwegian navy at this time, as Norway was under Danish rule, rather it was known as the Royal Dano- Norwegian Navy.) He quickly rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral, was ennobled for his naval exploits by King Frederick the IV of Denmark in 1716, and died at age 30 in a duel.

Tordenskjold's reputation has led to several boats being named in his honor. One is a fishing schooners built in 1911; over 100 years later it is still afloat continuing as a fishing vessel in Alaska. A PBS documentary about her has been made, Tordenskjold: Boat of the Century.

Another, a steamer built in Trondheim around 1906 served as a coastal passenger vessel, Hurtigruten route and in the service of the Norwegian Merchant Marines. During WWII it served a in a variety of uses, including as a troop carrier and convoy and even sustained air attack.

This books and several others were donated by Lee Umphrey grandson of Evelyn Soley Umphrey. Evelyn was 100% Norwegian and traveled back there several times during her lifetime before she died in 1999. Evelyn was the daughter of Ivar Kristian Sollie(1878-1973) who was born in Kjelsaas and grew up in Oslo, and Elizabeth Austad Sollie(1882-1968) who was born in Larvik. Ivar came to America and settled in Providence, RI in 1904 and started work immediately as a tool maker at Brown & Sharp. Elizabeth soon followed and they married in 1906, the year Evelyn was born. Evelyn was fiercely loyal to her heritage and once famously(within our family) took umbrage to critical remarks made by the Chef Julia Child about Norwegian food during a New England Herbal Society Luncheon in Boston. With Julia towering high above her, she dressed her down. * Note--the late spelling of the name was Soley but it appears that Sollie was the spelling when they first came over.

For more photos of this fascinating book,
visit our Facebook Photo Gallery!



Scandinavian East Coast Museum
c/o Lutheran Elementary School • 440 Ovington Avenue • Brooklyn, NY 11209
• 718 748-5950