Posted 6/15/13 (Sat)
The Sons of Norway Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 in Bismarck presented a $5,000 check to the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) Foundation June 11 for the North Dakota Heritage Center expansion project. It is part of a statewide campaign led by the Bismarck Lodge to encourage Norwegian-Americans in the state to raise funds to name a meeting room at the Heritage Center in honor of their Norwegian heritage. (from left) Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 Treasurer Dick Hansen, SHSND Foundation History’s Trustee Chuck Esser of Bismarck, SHSND Foundation Executive Director Virginia Nelsen, SHSND Expansion and New Initiatives Coordinator Claudia Berg, Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 Member Derle Marchus, SHSND Foundation Trustee Development Consultant Bill Schott, SHSND Foundation Fundraising Director Karl Lembke, and Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 President Rich Fadness.
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Sons of Norway Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 in Bismarck presented a $5,000 check to the State Historical Society of North Dakota (SHSND) Foundation on June 11 for the North Dakota Heritage Center expansion project. It is part of a statewide campaign led by the Bismarck Lodge to encourage Norwegian-Americans in the state to raise funds to name a meeting room in honor of their Norwegian heritage.
The Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 is leading the campaign to encourage all North Dakota Sons of Norway members and Norwegian-Americans in the state to raise $100,000 to name a meeting room in honor of their Norwegian heritage. It is being coordinated by the SHSND Foundation.
“Our lodge has had a great time gathering funds for this project by doing several fundraisers,” said Sverdrup Lodge President Rich Fadness. “We are working on more ideas and hope to see this project through. We hope individuals with Norwegian heritage and other lodges will help us get this completed. Our heritage depends on people working with us and donating funds as well. Individual donations can also be memorialized with your loved ones name in honor of them,” he said.
“We are very grateful for this donation by the Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 and the leadership they have shown in spearheading this project statewide,” said SHSND Foundation Executive Director Virginia Nelsen. “Many gifts have been received, large and small. There is an opportunity for a Norwegian individual or family to come forward with a substantial gift to help complete this $100,000 challenge. We hope today’s gift from the Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 will encourage a major donor to honor their Norwegian heritage at the North Dakota Heritage Center,” she said.
“The meeting room will honor those who migrated to this country and settled in North Dakota,” said Derle Marchus of Bismarck, who is spearheading this campaign. “This is a one-time opportunity to recognize the parents and grandparents of North Dakota’s Norwegians,” he said.
Those who contribute to this campaign will have their name listed in a kiosk near the entrance of the expanded North Dakota Heritage Center. The Sons of Norway Lodges will also be honored with their lodge names listed on a plaque in the Legislative Hall of Honors when the $100,000 challenge is reached.
Sons of Norway Lodges in Crosby, Devils Lake and Tioga have also made financial contributions to the expansion project campaign.
Now under construction, the $52 million expansion will double the size of the state museum, adding new galleries, visitor services, programming, collections storage, labs and office space. It will be completed in time for North Dakota’s 125th anniversary in November 2014.
The involvement of the state’s Norwegian descendents has gained support from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. In a letter to Sons of Norway Lodge members in North Dakota, the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States encouraged them to support the expansion of the North Dakota Heritage Center. Ambassador Wegger Strømmen praised them for their efforts to raise funds to have a meeting room named after them in the expanded Heritage Center.
“The North Dakota Heritage Center is a destination for many Norwegians who visit the state to learn more about their immigrant ancestors,” Strømmen wrote in the letter dated September 15, 2012. “They conduct research in the archives and view exhibits that tell the stories of many Norwegian pioneers who have helped make North Dakota the wonderful state it is today.”
Strømmen said this is an opportunity for members of the state’s Sons of Norway lodges to live up to their mission statement to promote and preserve the heritage and culture of Norway.
“It is my sincere hope that all of North Dakota Sons of Norway lodges and Norwegian-Americans will take a leadership role and contribute to this important and worthwhile effort,” he wrote. “You will be doing so much to keep North Dakota’s Norwegian-American history, culture and traditions alive for generations to come.”
According to the State Data Center, North Dakotans of Norwegian descent comprise 31 percent of the state’s present population, the highest percentage of any state in the country.
For more information on the Sons of Norway statewide campaign, contact SHSND Foundation Fundraising Director Karl Lembke at (701) 391-3405 or SHSND Foundation Communications and Outreach Director Rick Collin at (701) 214-0109. For more about the SHSND Foundation, visit its website at www.statehistoricalfoundation.com. For more about the Sons of Norway Sverdrup Lodge 4-107 in Bismarck, visit its website at www.sofnbismarck.com.