“a viking ship's homecoming and a stave church”
The Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center, commonly known as the Hjemkomst Center, is a museum in Moorhead, Minnesota. Hjemkomst Center first opened in 1985 and serves as a home to Hjemkomst Viking Ship, Hopperstad Stave Church replica, quarterly museum exhibits, and county archives. In 2009, the Clay County Historical Society (which was founded in 1932) and the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center merged to form the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.''Hjemkomst''Hjemkomst, which means "Homecoming" in Norwegian, is a replica Viking ship that is permanently housed in the center of the museum. The ship is a full-scale replica of the Gokstad Viking ship that was discovered in Norway in 1880. The idea for building Hjemkomst was that of Robert Asp (1923-1980), a guidance counselor at Moorhead Junior High School. Construction on Hjemkomst began in 1974 at the Leslie Welter Potato Warehouse in Hawley, Minnesota. The warehouse site was then transformed into the Hawley Shipyard during the construction. That same year, Asp became diagnosed with leukemia; however he still continued to build the ship; he had help from other volunteers.In July 1980 the Hawley Shipyard was torn down for the removal and christening of the completed ship. Hjemkomst was shipped overnight to Duluth, Minnesota, on August 5, 1980. Asp held the rank as captain during the ship's maiden voyage throughout Lake Superior until his death four months later on December 27, 1980. In May 1982, Asp's three sons and daughter along with eight members of Hjemkomst crew decided to sail Hjemkomst to Norway, which was Asp's original dream. The ship departed New York City on June 8, 1982 and arrived in Bergen, Norway 19 July and on August 9, 1982 the ship arrived in Oslo. The ship stayed in Oslo for a year until it was transported back to Minnesota on MV Brunto.
We really enjoyed the Hjemkomst and Hopperstad exhibits. It is a real treat to see full size replicas of an ancient Viking ship and Norwegian Stave Church. Be sure to watch the video presentation about Hjemkomst.
The Hjemkomst center always has fascinating rotating exhibits, along with its permanent installations. The Norwegian Stave church, full-scale replica viking ship (it has a great story behind it!) and the local archives and art installations in the basement. You could easily spend several hours here. It is almost always quiet and it is impeccably maintained.
This is exactly the sort of thing that I love to stop at on a road trip. Unique, fascinating and a tiny bit weird. The ship is very cool but the real gem here is the church, I highly recommend taking the free tour.
This museum accomplished two things: 1) it brings you back places smack in the middle of what it must have been like to be a Viking aboard ship and 2) it chronicles the realization of one man’s dream that gathers enough steam to bring a community together to bring to reality the most darling of dreams! This was one of our favorite stops!
Very welcoming staff and nice facility. Definitely take time for a tour of the church as it’s beautiful and you can only see the inside in a tour.
Spent the afternoon here ,,, What a great place!!
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- Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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