November 11, 2017 – January 7, 2018
This ‘spirited’ new national traveling exhibition shares the history and traditions of drinking culture in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and how these customs were carried by immigrants to the U.S.
Created by the Museum of Danish America and presented by Aalborg and Linie Aquavits, the exhibition will focus traditions related to beer and aquavit – the historic "spirit" of Scandinavia which translates as “the water of life.”
Scandinavians have brewed beer for over 1,500 years. In pre-Christian times, the Norse god Odin was credited with teaching humans how to brew beer, and drinking beer was often involved in worship and as offering to the deities. Beer was part of battle victory celebrations and sometimes drinking challenges.
In the 1500s, distilled liquor became known through Scandinavia as a medical cure-all. Early distilling efforts often produced awful flavors, so herbs and other plants were used to improve the taste – creating what is now known as aquavit. Aquavit is also commonly consumed in Northern Germany in the region of Schleswig-Holstein, which has changed hands between Denmark and Germany a number of times.
A 100-page exhibition catalog, designed by Omaha’s Oxide Design Co., includes much of the exhibit content plus essays from experts and enthusiasts across the country and recipes from the U.S. and Scandinavia. In full color with a wire binding for easy recipe viewing, the book is available through the Museum’s Store.
In addition to the exhibition in Minneapolis and originally on view in Elk Horn, Iowa, other tour stops include the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle and venues in Chicago, Philadelphia and California. In addition to Aalborg and Linie Aquavits, the exhibit is supported in part by the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia and the Albert Victor Ravenholt Fund of Seattle.
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