This is the ax if you did not get to see the one in question. The photos show it well and weathered, also one of the new storage rooms for the museum. ted
Begin forwarded message:
Dear Ms. Rudebusch,
Your email has been forwarded on to me. I have done some research on the ax you are interested in. This ax, which has the Vesterheim museum number of LC0879, was sent to the museum in 1952 by R. W. Breckenridge at the request of Hjalmer Holand. We also have a subsequent letter from Holand confirming his desire that the ax head come to Vesterheim.
I would like to assure you that the ax head is not being stored in a dusty box. In 2005 the former Video Warehouse was renovated to become the Bauder-Landsgard Collection Study Center (BLC), a state of the art storage facility. It is climate controlled, has movable shelving units, and artifacts rest on shelves that are lined with volara foam to protect the objects from scratches and other damage. Over 9,000 artifacts, including the ax head, were moved from various former storage areas to the BLC over a two year period from 2006-2008. Each artifact that was moved, was cleaned and photographed. I have included an image of the ax, and our new storage facility, in this email.
Due to the fact that Vesterheim has over 24,000 objects, not all of our collection can be on display all the time. However, we do periodically change our exhibits and displays so an object may be moved from storage to the main museum at any time. And while it nice to have items on display, it is safer for objects to be in a climate controlled storage facility. We are always happy to take interested visitors into storage to see specific artifacts as long as they have made prior arrangements with me. All that I ask is that I have a couple of days of notice to make sure that I am available to take the interested parties into the appropriate storage facility.
Vesterheim takes its mission to embody the the living heritage of Norwegian immigrants to all of America, not just Decorah, seriously. As with most museums, once an artifact is willingly given to Vesterheim, we have taken on the responsibility for caring for it in perpetuity. Therefore, it is not possible to transfer the object to your local museum. We are always willing to loan artifacts to qualified institutions.
I hope that I have made you feel better about the ax being stored at Vesterheim. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.
Collections Access Manager
Phone: 563-382-9681 ext. 118
Web site: vesterheim.org
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
523 West Water Street
P.O. Box 379
Decorah, IA 52101