New Nordic needs $7 million

The Nordic Heritage Museum has been in the process of constructing a new downtown Ballard-central location for nearly a year. The museum broke ground on July 30 of last year, and the completed frame was “topped out” with a wreath as part of a traditional Nordic ceremony in March.

But the project still has a ways to go before its scheduled 2018 opening. Deputy director Jan Woldseth Colbrese noted that a 77,000-item collection will need to be carefully moved from the current Northwest 67th Street location to the new location on  Northwest Market Street.

And Museum trustees must raise the final $6.8 million of the $47 million construction budget. At the May 24 luncheon of the Ballard Alliance, museum officials pitched the business membership on the organization’s missions, and options for the completion of fundraising.

“This museum does a great job,” said Thomas Malone, an attorney and vice president of the museum’s board of trustees. “That’s why we get 60,000 visitors a year. And with this new building, we can expect 120,000.”

Colbrese said the museum hopes to earn greater revenues from memberships. The remainder of capital funds are expected to be raised by donations. Donors who give between $1,000 and $10,000 will be given an inscribed plaque to be installed on a wall inside the museum’s east garden.

Members of the museum will have a chance to see the interior of the new museum before it opens to the public.

At 57,000 square feet and three stories, the main hallway of the new museum has been designed to resemble a fjord that will direct visitors to exhibits. Visitors will be able to cross between exhibits by way of upper-story bridges that cross the hallway.

A 3,700-square-foot space will be dedicated to visiting exhibitions. Museum officials have already begun negotiations for loans with the five Nordic national galleries, Colbrese said.

“We want to go back in time, climate, geography, and explore what kind of values came out of that location,” she said.

However, museum officials said future museum operations could be jeopardized by a planned bike lane on Northwest Market Street.

In February, the Seattle Department of Transportation selected a route along Shilshole Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street to connect the current end of the Burke-Gilman Trail to the bike trail to Golden Gardens Park. SDOT released the final environmental impact statement on the project on May 25, the day after the Ballard Alliance luncheon.

Malone said he was particularly concerned that the bike lane would run along the south side of Northwest Market Street -- the same side as the museum -- and potentially restrict left hand turns onto the property by drivers traveling from the east.

“We anticipate most of our visitors won’t be coming from the water [on the west],” Malone said. “How will they visit the museum?”

The bike project could break ground in spring 2018.

A number of business and labor groups represented by Veris Law Group have a pending lawsuit against the city to prevent the Shilshole portion of the bike route, which would cross several commercial driveways frequented by trucks and trailers. Plaintiffs contend the route would impact day-to-day business operations and put bicyclists at risk of collision.

More information about the Nordic Heritage Museum can be found at