The Museum of Danish America’s collection is national in scope and includes furniture, print documents, photographs, fine and decorative arts, and other items of historical significance. NEH funding has helped the museum conserve its fine art collections by purchasing storage supplies and hanging racks for framed artworks. Now, the museum is able to host group tours of its storage areas, enabling visitors to view art not currently on display, and museum staff are better able to access the fine art collection when creating exhibitions. More recently, NEH funding helped the museum bring a condensed version of the celebrated exhibition Jacob A. Riis: How the Other Half Lives to Elk Horn through the NEH on the Road program. In addition to hosting the exhibition for three months, the museum used an NEH programming grant to hold public programs, including a lecture on the contemporaneous experiences of rural, midwestern children that served as a compliment to Riis’s urban focus in the late nineteenth century.
The Museum of Danish America also has a strong temporary and traveling exhibition program, which has often been supported by Humanities Iowa. For example, its recent exhibition New Nordic Cuisine explores the way the food cultures from Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden have influenced both American and international cuisines. After its time in Elk Horn, the exhibition will travel to Decorah, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Moorhead, Minnesota; Chicago, Illinois; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.