A view from the Naust house at the museum (photo contributed).

Local Danish museum expansion will be discussed at national conference in Red Deer

Members from across North America will gather May 25-28

The Danish Canadian Museum near Spruce View is running out of space for artifact storage and display.

A proposed expansion is one of the items that will be discussed during a national conference this month, expected to draw about 100 people from across North America and Denmark to Central Alberta.

Executive-director Brian Desjardins is thrilled that several local facilities are host locations for the annual conference of the Danish Federation in Canada. This national event is being held for the first time at the Danish Canadian Museum, as well as Red Deer and Spruce View from May 25-28.

“It usually takes place in large cities. The last one was in Montreal,” he noted.

But, as many Danish settlers in Canada lived and worked in farming areas, federation officials were interested in checking out the national Danish Canadian Museum in Central Alberta, as well as touring to the Dickson General Store and Stephansson House in Markerville.

Conference-goers will be meeting in Red Deer’s Sheraton Hotel to hear a line-up of speakers before travelling to see sites along the “Scandinavian Trail.” Viking re-enactments and other activities are planned, said Desjardins, who added anyone can attend the conference, “you don’t have to be Danish.” (More information and an agenda can be found at www.stepintothesaga.com.)

These are exciting times for the museum, south of Dickson, which received tourism and heritage recognition awards for new developments, including a recently constructed ship house, or ‘Naust,’ for a replica of the Freydis Joanna viking ship that’s displayed at the site.

But as the facility celebrates its 25th anniversary and embarks on a new branding strategy, Desjardins said it’s becoming apparent the current infrastructure will not be adequate for the future.

How to plan for a museum expansion so more artifacts can be accepted and displayed will be discussed at the conference. Desjardins said talks will include doing a needs assessment, costing analysis, then starting a fundraising campaign.

For more information, please email executive@stepintothesaga.com or call 403-352-4059.


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