The Museum of Danish America, located in Elk Horn, Iowa, has been open since 1994 as a national center for the Danish-American community. Its mission is “to celebrate Danish roots and American dreams”.

Oxide has had the privilege of working with the Museum of Danish America on various projects in the past. Recently, they asked us to develop the look and identity for their upcoming exhibition on the history and culture of beer and aquavit in Scandinavia, called “Skål! Scandinavian Spirits”.

Skål logo
PatternExhibition pattern

The exhibition highlights the drinking traditions of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. It follows those traditions to Scandinavian-American communities answering questions like “What is aquavit, anyway?” and “How do you “˜skål’ correctly?” We love broadening our knowledge base on anything and everything, and, needless to say, we learned quite bit about Scandinavia researching this project.
For the exhibition’s identity, we settled on a type-based logo coupled with a graphic pattern. The pattern draws from the more traditional patterns found in Scandinavian folk art. The rough edges and green colors of the pattern and logotype help to push that organic/folk art look. The pattern is made up of objects specific to Scandinavia, ranging from viking ale bowls to aquavit ingredients to mermaids.
Once the identity was established, we then moved to the design of the interpretive panels. These sixteen panels guide the viewer through the exhibition and provide detailed explanations of various parts of the exhibition.

Due to funding, it hadn’t been determined what other pieces we would get to work on. As the project progressed, funding for additional pieces came through, and we were able to add the exhibition catalog and poster.

Book+spreadExhibition catalog (cover and interior spread)

We were able to do some really cool things in terms of printing techniques on these pieces. The exhibition catalog is wire bound and features a wraparound cover with the Skål pattern embossed. The exhibition poster is an 18 by 24 inch, two-color screen-print. Oxide also designed some more traditional collateral for the exhibition, including a postcard and small exhibition poster.

Poster-18x24Exhibition poster

We’re proud to note that Lars Kragelund – the Technical Brand Director from exhibition sponsor Aalborg Aquavit, who came over from Norway to attend the opening – was highly complimentary of the identity and collateral, noting that it captured a very authentic feel of traditional Scandinavian design, while also feeling very modern and contemporary.

“Skål! Scandinavian Spirits” is going on now and runs through October 25th at the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa, before embarking on a national tour. For more information visit the Museum of Danish America website. Skål!

View the project page for Skål exhibit.