Human fascination with objects is palpable and vital. We have a collection and feel very strongly about preserving and displaying the actual artifacts and archival materials that comprise it. A Virtual Museum offers another venue, in which to enhance and share the story of Scandinavian history with a larger audience. It allows us to include objects within a context and with content – in effect, a virtual exhibit offering a history lesson in a digital format.
The Scandinavian East Coast Museum not only houses an archive, it also offers many cultural events and provides educational programs. Its archive and library were recently relocated to a beautiful new space, which is opened to the public. This larger space is physically perfect for exhibitions, but it is a shared space and costly to rent, which limits how often we can curate exhibits. Adding a Virtual Museum to our website is a very effective and affordable way to overcome this limitation.
Our initial exhibit in the Virtual Museum is the result of a collaboration with the seventy-one year old Norwegian Folk Dance Society of New York. This project will preserve and share their archival, cultural, and intellectual resources, which were provided by their members, in particular Paul Busse, their Dance Director and Signy Zetterstrom. Mr. Busse does not have one drop of Scandinavian blood in him, but has a passion for dance, and has done extensive research on the history of the dances they perform. We have also recorded an interview with Signy Zetterstrom, the oldest living member of the club, who has provided her invaluable insight and experience. The story of many cultural organizations is often in the memory of its members, and not written down. Left unrecorded, it is lost forever. This is why we are including oral history, as well as written history.
I invite you to journey with us as we continue to find innovative ways in which to document, reveal and share the story of Scandinavians throughout the East Coast of the United States.
Victoria Hofmo, President
This project could not be possible without the generous donation from the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Re-grant Program funded by JPMorgan Chase.