National Nordic Museum in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood presents history, art, and culture from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and their immigrants to America. Their vast collection of artifacts displayed in permanent and rotating exhibits provide insights about Nordic history, culture, and values to inspire new perspectives for visitors to the museum.
History of the Nordic Museum
The Nordic Museum originally opened in 1980 in Ballard, where many Scandanavian immigrants had settled, giving the neighborhood a unique flair. For nearly 40 years, the museum was housed in a surplus Seattle Public School building. As the museum grew in popularity, an upgrade in space became necessary.
In 2018, after a significant fundraising effort, the museum moved from its old location to their current home on Market Street. The new museum includes 57,000 square feet of space. The modern building was thoughtfully designed like a fjord and was sustainably built.
In 2019, the U.S. Congress officially designated the new National Nordic Museum. It is the only institution of its size and scale in the United States to present the history and culture of the entire Nordic region.
Visiting National Nordic Museum
Lots of natural light floods the contemporary building. Multiple indoor bridges span the width of the main museum, giving visitors a unique view of the layout and items on display.
Location: National Nordic Museum, 2655 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107
Parking: paid parking lot is located on the south side of the building. Pay at on-site kiosk or using their parking app.
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays and a few holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day).
Regular admission: Adults $20. Children 4 & under FREE. Admission to Freya Café and the Museum Store is always free.
Free and discount admission to National Nordic Museum
- FREE general admission every 1st Thursday and discounted special exhibit admission. Reservation required.
- FREE admission with a Seattle Public Library Museum Pass (spl.org).
- FREE re-entry with general admission, allowing you to leave and return with proof of purchase.
- FREE admission for museum members, plus other benefits. Pays for itself in three museum visits.
- FREE admission for museum volunteers, plus other benefits.
- DISCOUNT admission via the Museums For All program.
- DISCOUNT admission for Military and Educators.
- DISCOUNT admission for other select groups (such as AAA members, Gold Card/Ageless Seattle, NARM/North American Reciprocal Museum membership, Seattle Public Library Pass).
Website: National Nordic Museum
Exhibits & events at National Nordic Museum
The permanent exhibit “Nordic Journeys” gives museum visitors an overview of Nordic life and history. Twelve thousand years of history is on display from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the Faroe and Åland Islands, Greenland, and the indigenous Sámi people in the northern Sápmi cultural region (formerly called “Lapland”) that stretches across several countries today.
Rotating temporary exhibits may feature Nordic artists, a historic cultural display, something inspired by the incredible natural beauty of the Nordic region, or something seasonal. Check the National Nordic Museum website to find information about current exhibits.
FREE every First Thursday. Free general admission to everyone and discounted special exhibit admission. Reserve tickets in advance online and stop at the Admissions Desk to check in for First Thursday. More info: Admissions — Nordic Museum
17th of May in Ballard—Norwegian Constitution Day. Ballard celebrates with a parade and special activities all day. Seattle festivities are listed as the third largest 17th of May celebration in the world, trailing only the Norwegian cities of Oslo and Bergen. More info: Museum Events Calendar | National Nordic Museum and 17th of May Seattle
Calendar of museums and other attractions
The following calendar list includes events at museums and other attractions around the Puget Sound region.