Thrune Visitors Center
Driving into Norskedalen, our signature archway greets you and invites you to come on in to Norskedalen, welcome. The Center was built in 1983 thanks to a generous gift made by Mrs. Ethel Thrune of Midland, Michigan, in memory of her husband Richard, who grew up in Coon Valley. An addition to the center – the Paul E. Stry Wing – was added in 1991. Construction of the wing was funded by the Paul E. Stry Foundation.
The Thrune Visitors’ Center includes a meeting room, lobby, gift shop, heritage and nature museums, coffee kitchen, licensed kitchen, the Jennifer Lee Marker Memorial Library and the Norskedalen offices.
Visitors to Norskedalen begin their visit here where they can sign in and view a short video giving a beautiful overview of all Norskedalen has to offer. Trail maps and other informational handouts are available at the Visitors’ Center.
The meeting room features displays such as cross country and jumping skis, immigrant trunks and the history of Norwegian immigration to the area. It is also the site for programs such as the popular ‘Sometimes on a Sunday’ series, featuring a wide variety of speakers one Sunday a month at 2 PM from May through November.
The Heritage Hall features The Immigration Story, depicting through murals and artifacts the story of the immigrants as they left Norway and traveled to build new lives in the Coon Valley area. See the trunks they used, the precious items they carried with them, the tools they used to build their new homes. Walk with the families as they meet the challenges of developing agriculture and industry.
The Immigration Story continues in the Nature Room, where you’ll see the significance of the timber and tobacco industries in Wisconsin, as well as the growth of agriculture. Learn the effect of these industries combined with a growing population on the land, the habitat and the wildlife. Walk away with a newfound respect for the Norwegian Heritage.
The Jennifer Lee Marker Memorial Library, a hidden gem for genealogical research and family histories, was established in 1982 by a gift from George and Connie Marker in memory of their daughter Jennifer. The library serves as a local and regional center for natural and ethnic history. It has a very large genealogical collection, books written by local authors, books in Norwegian, and area history. Call ahead if wishing to do research as our library is in high demand for meetings and activities.
All rooms in the Thrune Visitors’ Center are available for renting for a meeting, retreat, or other group activity and can accommodate groups of 20-70 people.