Scandinavian Cultural Center Records

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UA 7.12

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Scandinavian Cultural Center Records

Date(s)

  • 1973-2016 (Creation)

Extent

11 boxes

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Records of the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University.

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Historical note

The Scandinavian Cultural Center (SCC) opened in 1989 as “a place for culture and tradition, language and literature, meetings and performances, presentations and conferences.” Planning for the Center goes back to the early 1970’s when the Scandinavian Studies academic program was formed. Pacific Lutheran University’s Scandinavian heritage has remained strong since the school’s founding in 1890 by Bjug Harstad, a Norwegian immigrant.

During the planning stages, the Scandinavian Heritage Program was established in 1978 and with it came the Founders Committee; those committees spearheaded the campaign to raise money for the Center. The Scandinavian Cultural Council (SCCC) was formed in 1980. The Troll Club started in 1981 with a thrift store named The Thrifty Troll, which was a Scandinavian-themed thrift store on Garfield Street run by volunteers. The proceeds helped fund the building. A Skoal Gift Committee was formed at this same time. This committee was run by the Development Office together with members of the SCCC. Events such as Scandinavia Today and Nordic Nights were fundraisers for the Center, along with other various events sponsored by the Troll Club, the Skoal Gift Committee and the Scandinavian Cultural Council.

When the SCC was dedicated in May 1989, PLU president Rieke emphasized that it was “housed at Pacific Lutheran University, but belongs to the nearly one-half million Scandinavians living in Washington.” The Center supports PLU’s Scandinavian Studies program and the Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection and houses artifacts and materials that represent the experiences of Scandinavians in America and the Pacific Northwest. Many additions have been made following the dedication. A kitchen was donated; a stage and a gallery added, and displays were constructed. The prow of a Viking ship was also built at the entrance to the Center.

Today, the SCC is used for exhibits, council meetings, presentations, performances, and celebrations. The same year that it opened, a director, Carla Wulfsberg, was hired to direct the Center’s activities. When Carla left, Susan Young became director and held the position until 2013 when Elisabeth Ward was hired. Elisabeth left in 2017 and Donald Ryan was appointed interim director. Troy Storfjell now serves as director.

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