Photo by Michael Harthorne
SAILING SEATTLE'S WATERS. Refurbishing an original Northern Norway fishing boat, the Nordic Spirit will be become a replica of a Viking ship and will be used for display and educational purposes for the Nordic Heritage Museum in the spring of 2009.

Nordic Spirit will sail again

After spending enough time to collect dust in the Nordic Heritage Museum's shed, the Nordic Spirit will once again sail in Seattle waters.

It was donated to the museum by a retired Volvo executive who used the fishing boat turned replica Viking ship for a marketing campaign in the 1960s. He brought the ship to Seattle and donated it to the museum in the 1980s.

An old fishing boat used in the late 18th or 19th century from Northern Norway, the Nordic Spirit is being renovated with the assistance of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard in Ballard.

They will be updating the boat so they can use it as the museum's display piece and assistance for educational use.

"A motivator to move this project is the 100th Anniversary of the Alaskan Yukon Pacific Exposition," said Eric Nelson, executive director of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

The opening of Norway Day at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition featured a Viking style ship, said Jason Herrington, Nordic Museum registrar. It was an emblem of the Nordic community's participation in Seattle's first World's Fair.

The Nordic Spirit will be used at next summer's citywide centennial celebration of the exposition to commemorate the 1909 sailing, after it's renovation, said Karen Hansen, of the Nordic Museum.

"This year the exposition is anxious to see if they can recreate the same energy of the 1909 ship for the centennial celebration," said Nelson.

The museum sees the restoration of the Nordic Spirit as an opportunity to honor and inspire the community through its symbol of tradition in Scandinavian shipbuilding and adaptive reuse.

"It's really been a community effort. A number of Nordic organizations and individuals came to us to provide a lot of community support for the effort," Nelson said. "We've had much more broader community support and contributions than we expected."

The museum expects the ship to be up and running in the spring of 2009, where it will be featured not only at the Alaska Exposition but other community and city events such as Norway's Constitution Day, Northwest Folklife festival and the Ballard Seafood Fest.

For more information visit the Nordic Spirit's blog at or contact Jason Herrington, Nordic Heritage Museum Registrar at 789-5707 ext. 27 or

Allison Espiritu may be reached at 783-1244 or

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