202 1st Ave., North
Moorhead Minnesota 56560United States
With its replicas of a Viking ship and a Norwegian stave church, this above-average historical museum tells the story of immigrants who helped settle Minnesota and North Dakota.
Hjemkomst means "homecoming" in Norwegian, and it's as fitting a description as any for a center dedicated to preserving the history of the Norse immigrants who helped settle the Moorhead/Clay County area. Here you'll find three main things things: a replica of a Viking ship; a replica of the Hopperstad Stave Church, the original of which is located in Vik, Norway; and a Red River Valley exhibit explaining the history and culture of the area. The first two were labors of love for the men who built them. The Hjemkomst Viking ship took a decade to create, and its owner, Robert Asp, dreamed of sailing it to Norway. He died before he had the chance, so his family and friends took the harrowing trip in his stead. Guy Paulson was the man behind the church, which he helped hand-carve. Construction was completed in 1998. Volunteers in colorful attire tell the story of how both were built and put the iconic structures into perspective with the area's rich history. The Red River exhibit explains how the river was formed geographically and why the steamboats that traveled it were instrumental in helping the area develop and grow. The 4,000-square-foot exhibit space features a 48-foot-long map of the river and its tributaries carved into the carpet.