New Land, New Life Exhibit Opens at SCHS

November 8, 2017

The Sons of Norway Nortonna Lodge No. 1-638 has partnered with the Steele County Historical Society to present, “New Land, New Life: Norwegian Immigration to Minnesota, 1825 – 1925” at the Steele County History Center in Owatonna. The exhibit  will be shown November 9 through January 27.


The  Sons of Norway Synnøve-Nordkap Lodge 1–8 has spearheaded this unique project which offers 20 exhibit panels on Norwegian immigrant life. The panels include information on everything from why Norwegians immigrated to Minnesota, to farming, education and folk art. The text was reviewed favorably by historian-authors Dr. Odd Lovoll of St. Olaf College and Dr. Betty Bergland of UW – River Falls.


The panels interpret primary materials and secondary research of Professors Carlton Qualey and John Gjerde on one of the earliest and largest ethnic groups to settle the Minnesota frontier. One in five Minnesotans claim Norwegian ancestry. Since 2013, the exhibit has traveled to communities across the Midwest. 

The panels are complemented by the Owatonna Sons of Norway Lodge providing artifacts from local Scandinavian families. 


Funding to create this exhibit came from the Sons of Norway Foundation and funds from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.


The Steele County Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1949. Its mission is to preserve and share Steele County history today for tomorrow.  The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Steele County’s past through museum exhibits, research, collections, tours, educational programs and book publishing. 


The Steele County Historical Society, located at 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, Thursdays from 10 am until 8 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am until 3 pm. For more information, please call our office at 507-451-1420.


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