Officials with the Museum of Danish America, in Elk Horn, report the Museum recently received two unexpected bequests within days of each other. Nicky Christensen, Museum Development and Social Media Associate says on Friday, Nov. 14th, word was received from the Charles and Norma Wilson Charitable Remainder Trust that the museum will be the recipient of over $550,000, which the Wilsons designated for investment in the Danish Immigrant Museum Endowment Fund.
The couple, who ran a very successful concrete/redi-mix business, were also major benefactors in the Red Oak, where they lived. The museum had a long relationship with the couple, as well as Norma’s sister and brother-in-law, who were also long-time museum members.
The following Monday, Nov. 17th, the Museum received a second distribution from the Marianne Festersen Trust. The bequest is a major gift in excess of $400,000. Marianne Festersen of Omaha, Nebraska was not a museum member, but her husband, Hans, was placed on the museum’s Danish Immigrant Wall of Honor in 1998 by her grandchildren.
Hans immigrated to the U-S in 1927, at the age of 21. He became a very successful independent CPA with Coca-Cola as one of his leading accounts. Before his death in 1997 he visited the museum and was impressed with it.
Museum of Danish America Executive Director John Mark Nielsen, said “These wonderful gifts affirm that our museum is making progress and is held in esteem by very generous members and donors. All of us are very grateful for these extraordinary gifts!.”
In other news, the museum has begun the process of renovating its mezzanine-level exhibit and office spaces after a generous end-of-year gift by Omaha area donors. The work will nearly double the size of the Kramme Gallery. Completion of the gallery expansion is hoped to be completed before the opening of a primary exhibit on display from April 24th – October 25th.
For more information, surf to: danishmuseum.org.