Sigrid Lien from Bergen, Norway, author of “Pictures of Longing—Photography and the Norwegian-American Migration” will visit Vesterheim, the National Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, on May 6. Lien will give a slide show presentation about her research from 7-9 p.m. in Vesterheim’s Amdal-Odland Heritage Center at 523 W. Water St., Decorah, Iowa. She will also be available for a book signing in the Museum Store from 2-4 p.m. on the same day.
In her book, Lien brings more than 250 photographs into focus as a moving account of Norwegian migration in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Between 1836 and 1915 more than 750,000 Norwegians emigrated to North America. Developments in photographic technology and distribution at the turn of the nineteenth century made it possible for them to keep up contact with their homeland and present detailed records of their encounter with a new country. Writing home, the newcomers sent thousands of pictures— “America–photographs,” as they are called in Norway.
This excellent study brings these people and the experience of immigration to life, and the exhaustive research presents a gold-mine of material for anyone interested in Scandinavian-American history, immigrant history, history of the Midwest, Norwegian history, and the history of American photography.
Lien is professor of art history and photography studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, and a leading authority on Norwegian photography. She has published extensively on modern and contemporary visual culture and is the author of the first extensive history of photography in Norway.
This presentation is supported by the Bernice Rise Trust.
Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, in scenic Decorah, Iowa, showcases the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts, and explores the American immigrant experience. This national treasure includes world-class exhibitions and 12 historic buildings. It is also a center for folk-art education, offering a wide variety of classes in authentic Norwegian folk art every year. For more information on the museum’s exhibitions, classes, events, membership opportunities, and ways to donate, check Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379