Museum night features Norwegian history

Kare Paulsen and Val Biffert were busy last week setting up a display at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to celebrate the history of Norwegian settlers in Bella Coola.

Kare Paulsen and Val Biffert were busy last week setting up a display at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to celebrate the history of Norwegian settlers in Bella Coola.

Biffert, who grew up in Bella Coola and is of Norwegian ancestry, will be on hand at the museum Wednesday evening, Sept. 28 for a special Nordic Spirit presentation.

The evening event starts at 7 p.m. and features viewing of photos, artifacts, coffee and Norwegian goodies.

The presentation is part of the travelling exhibit Nordic Spirit 2011 about Norwegian settlers in Bella Coola that is on display at the museum until Friday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

This is a gallery presentation of superb heritage images depicting the life and times of the early Norwegian settlers in Bella Coola presented by the museum and the Scandinavian Cultural Society.

Some of the historical pictures in the exhibit depict people logging some immense trees. In one photograph of the Christensen/Hansen family, taken in October 1896 at a family dinner, there is a bird cage with a bird in it and simple wooden table laid with a beautifully crafted table cloth.

Biffert says Norwegians in Norway are extremely interested in Scandinavian settlements in the U.S. and Canada and heritage crafts.

This spring, Biffert attended a needlework retreat in Fargo, North Dakota that brought together about 68 Nordic women from around Canada and the U.S. mid-west for a needlework retreat. Biffert went to learn more about cross stitch and the the Norwegian hardangersom form of needlework.

Despite the fact that the Red River was overflowing its banks at the time forcing many evacuations, she says the workshop was extremely well run, and participants were advised in advance that the airport and conference hotel were on high ground.

Paulsen, who helped set up the exhibit, has lived in Canada for 57 years and just returned from Norway where he has lived for the past year and a half.

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