Danish American Cultural Retreat

The Danish American Cultural Retreat (DACR) is an annual opportunity to learn about topics related to Denmark and other Nordic countries. A true Pacific Northwest tradition, DACR has been held every year for 40 years at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

DACR offers:

  • A rich program to illustrate the significance of Denmark on the global stage
  • An annual opportunity to learn about Denmark and its links to the United States, today and in the past
The 44th annual Danish American Cultural Retreat in 2022 will take place online on September 17th(Sat) & 18th(Sun).

Hopefully we will return to in-person at Menucha in 2023!
Virtual Culture Conference: The Danish American Cultural Retreat 2020

DACR 2021

The 2021 conference took place virtually from September 17th to 19th. Thank you to everyone who participated!

2021 Program Overview
  • Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries – Bill Arnott, Author
  • Egtved Pige Documentary
  • A Ripple in Time: The Management of Underwater Archaeology in Denmark – Sterre Klaver, Maritime Archaeologist with the University of Southern Denmark
  • Tradition and Change: Weddings in Danish America – Diya Nagaraj, Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Danish America
  • The Year of Living Danishly: YouTube video and discussion
  • Out of the Shadows: Benedicte Wrensted – Marcia Franklin, Producer, writer and host for Idaho Public Television
  • Art Nouveau Innovation: Danish Porcelain from 1885 to 1920 – Diya Nagaraj, Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Danish America
  • The Migration of Nordic Language: How Vikings Spread Norse – Dave Nordin, Vice President of Friends of the Viking Ship
  • The Viking Ship that Sailed Across the Atlantic – Dave Nordin
  • and more!

View the 2021 DACR Schedule (subject to change).

DACR 2021 Program Details

Friday, September 17th
Presentation Abstracts:

Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries by Bill Arnott

Bestselling author Bill Arnott has done it again, “gone viking” around the world by foot, bus, boat, train, and a couple of questionable planes. Gone Viking II is a series of remarkable excursions occurring before, during, and after the voyages of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. All of these journeys are reflected in a changing world in which travel restrictions are our new normal. From first-hand encounters, vividly shared experience, and well-worn personal journals, readers can travel alongside this fun-loving wanderer in the footsteps of history’s greatest explorers, make quirky new friends, find hidden treasure, and discover surprisingly familiar destinations from the comfort of their favorite armchair. With an inquisitive eye, poetic prose, and a comedian’s take on nearly everything, Bill Arnott explores the world with insight and humor. Join this award-winning author for another travel saga across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Author Bill Arnott

About the Presenter: Bill Arnott (rhymes with darn-it) is the award-winning, bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, and recipient of Canada’s 2021 Very Best Book Award for nonfiction. For his expeditions Bill’s been granted a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society. When not trekking the globe with a small pack, journal, and laughably outdated camera phone, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making music and friends.

Find his books here:

Gone Viking – Rocky Mountain Books (rmbooks.com)

Gone Viking II – Rocky Mountain Books (rmbooks.com)

Saturday, September 18th
Presentation Abstracts:

A Ripple in Time : The Management of Maritime Archaeology in Denmark by Sterre Klaver

Denmark’s history is shaped by water. The peninsula of Jutland is the largest landmass, and there are about 405 islands, ranging from the larger Fyn and Zealand, to small sandbanks. Throughout history people adapted to this environment and even depended on it. Ever-changing coastlines were more densely populated than inland regions from at least 6500 BC on. Since then Denmark has become a nation of seafarers, from prehistoric migration to colonial trade to industrial fishing. The Viking period is arguably one of the country’s most famous features and is proudly promoted in modern society. The country’s landscape is notably dynamic, and has been since the dawn of mankind. Denmark’s human history of the last 9000 years is documented in many archaeological sites hidden in this landscape. The professionals in the field have to adapt to difficult environments and unique challenges. Especially now, new technologies open up to exciting possibilities to learn and teach about how our modern society has been shaped by the past.

Archaeologist Sterre Klaver


About the Presenter: Sterre Klaver, originally from the Netherlands, moved to Denmark to get a master’s degree in maritime archaeology four years ago. With a passion for traveling and experiencing many different countries and cultures, she did not intend to stay, but then she fell in love! Recently she has begun working for the Coastal Museum in Northern Jutland. In the future she hopes to use her experience at Danish museums to help communities everywhere to develop their maritime archaeological field, and to realize her dream of building underwater museums.

Tradition and Change: Weddings in Danish America by Diya Nagaraj

Weddings are a universal celebration – regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, or socio-economic background, people around the world come together to observe and acknowledge a couple’s union. For many Danish immigrants and their descendants, weddings serve as a way to keep cultural traditions alive, while simultaneously incorporating American customs. This talk explores weddings among Danes and Danish Americans and the ways in which traditions have been retained or adapted over generations.

Photo of presenter
Associate Curator, Diya Nagaraj

About the Presenter: Diya Nagaraj is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of Danish America. Originally from Pittsburgh, she received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, double majoring in Environmental Policy and Art History. In 2019, she received her Master’s from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in Technical Art History, joining the Museum of Danish America staff in 2020.

Out of the Shadows: Benedicte Wrensted by Marcia Franklin and Joanna Scherer

Learn more about Danish photographer Benedicte Wrensted, who came to Pocatello, Idaho in 1895. In addition to documenting life in the city, Wrensted also took stunning photographs of the Shoshone-Bannock tribal members. Her photos languished unattributed until Smithsonian anthropologist Joanna Sherer went on a quest to find their maker and identify as many of the subjects in the images as possible. The Idaho Public Television documentary “Out of the Shadows” features the lives of Benedicte Wrensted and Jane Gay who both took images of Native Americans in Idaho at the turn of the 20th century, although they didn’t know each other. The documentary brings their stories and their photographs out of the shadows and discusses what these images mean to the descendants of those portrayed.

Journalist Marcia Franklin

About the Presenters:

Marcia Franklin has been a journalist at Idaho Public Television since 1990. She’s the producer and host of Dialogue, a statewide conversation program focusing on the humanities, which began in 1994. During the pandemic, she also started a series called The 180, featuring individuals who have made turnarounds in their lives. Franklin is also a producer for Idaho Experience, a history series, and Outdoor Idaho, a series that covers environmental and outdoor issues in Idaho. She is the past managing editor and host of Idaho Reports, the station’s legislative program. Her programs have garnered numerous honors, including a George Foster Peabody Award, the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, and five regional Emmy Awards.

Marcia is a founding board member of the non-partisan City Club of Boise and a past president of that organization. For many years, she was a “Big Sister” in Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She is a frequent moderator at events around the state. Prior to working at IdahoPTV, Marcia was the assistant to the news director at KQED-TV in San Francisco and a reporter at KIFI-TV in Idaho Falls, ID. A native of Washington, D.C., she has an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Master’s in Journalism from Northwestern University. She enjoys reading, cycling, travel and felines.

Emeritus anthropologist Joanna Scherer

Joanna Scherer is an Emeritus anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institution. Her book, A Danish photographer of Idaho Indians: Benedicte Wrensted, was awarded the Idaho Book of the Year in 2006. Joanna is the author of several other books and numerous articles and served as a Illustrations Researcher/Anthropologist for the multi-volume Handbook of North American

Sunday, September 19th
Presentation Abstracts:

Art Nouveau Innovation: Danish Porcelain from 1885 to 1920 by Diya Nagaraj

The Art Nouveau period represented a stylistic and technical high point in the world of Danish porcelain. The two major companies, Bing & Grøndahl and Royal Copenhagen, were lauded as innovators through this period and led the way not just among European ceramic producers, but around the world. An increasingly global world, new artistic inspiration, and new technological innovations came together to make this period a particularly interesting and important time period for Danish porcelain.

The Migration of Nordic Language: How Vikings Spread Norse by Dave Nordin

The Vikings are known for their seafaring, which allowed them to sail from Scandinavia and reach places as far away as Istanbul and Newfoundland. Evidence of their presence is seen not only in ship burials, graffiti in Athens and Istanbul, and archaeological sites, but also in our language.

The Viking Ship That Sailed Across the Atlantic by Dave Nordin

In 1893, a replica of the Gokstad Viking ship successfully sailed from Bergen, Norway, to Chicago, Illinois, proving that a Viking ship could make the journey. It was then exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exhibition, 1893, and is on display today in Geneva, Illinois, at the Friends of the Viking Ship Museum.

About the Presenter: David Nordin is an active volunteer and has served as Vice President for the non-profit Friends of the Viking Ship (where the Gokstad ship replica is on display). In addition to giving talks and promoting the work of the Friends of the Viking Ship, Dave dons Viking-style garb to lead interpretive tours of the replica Viking ship, housed in Good Templar Park in Geneva, IL.  For his day job, Dave is an attorney and president of the family law firm Nordin & Sturino PC in Naperville, IL where he also resides.

A typical year at DACR:

DACR is typically held in person in Oregon each year in June.

Program Features:
The rich DACR program has included presentations by CEOs, presidents, or other representatives from key players in the Danish American community, such as:

  • Museum of Danish America
  • Nordic Museum
  • Scan Design Foundation
  • Embassy of Denmark, USA
  • Novo Nordisk
Diverse topics covered by experts in each field, such as:
  • WWII and the Danish Resistance Movement -Author Nathaniel Hong\
  • Hans Christian Andersen -Dr. Marianne Stecher, UW Scandinavian Studies Professor and Head of UW Danish Program
  • The Golden Era of Danish Silent Films -Kristian Næsby, UW Scandinavian Studies Visiting Danish lecturer
  • Vikings in Denmark -Author William Sullivan
  • Falck: Danish Emergency Services -Peter Jorna, Falck USA
  • Danish Cheeses -Dr. Lisbeth Goddik, OSU Dairy Processing Extension Specialist and Associate Professor in Food Science
  • Nimbus MotorcyclesNimbus Motorcycle Club, USA
  • Danish Defense PoliciesNiels Ulrik Olsen, Royal Danish Embassy
  • The Greenland Ice Sheet and Climate Change -Dr. Christina Hulbe, Portland State University

Learn or Practice Danish. DACR offers optional classes for those who would like to learn some Danish at the retreat! Many Danish speakers attend DACR allowing ample opportunities to speak the language. 

Field Trip to Latourell Falls

Nature Walks
Experience waterfalls and lush green surroundings at DACR. We take a field trip to one of the waterfalls each year and to the nearby vista house with spectacular views of the Columbia river.

Evening Entertainment
Each year we have evening entertainment for guests to enjoy before ‘Kro Aften’. On Friday we celebrate Sankt Hans with snobrød and traditional Danish midsommer songs around the fire.

Kro Aften
To wind down from all the daily activities, guests are invited to join us in the ‘Kro’ each evening for beer, wine, and bar snacks.

Conference Schedule
Friday check-in: Begins at 11:00 am followed by lunch at noon.
Friday programs: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am to 1:30 pm

The Menucha Retreat and Conference Center

DACR is held at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon. Menucha Retreat offers a variety of amenities and lodging options. Lodging options include rooms that are private, semi-private, or dormitory style.

The beautiful grounds at Menucha have so much to offer, including:

  • Panoramic views
  • A swimming pool and courts for a variety of sports
  • Hiking trails, fire pits, and much more

Getting to DACR

The Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett is located right on the Washington-Oregon state border.


Approximate travel times:

  • From Seattle: Less than 4 hours by car
  • From Portland: 30 minutes by car

For those who need a ride from Seattle or Portland, we can help arrange carpools. Guests can also fly in to Portland International Airport. We can help arrange rides from the airport, if needed.

Sunset lighting over the Columbia River Gorge from DACR

Watch for mailed postcards, website information, The Little Mermaid, and e-bulletin announcements with updates! To receive the most up to date information on DACR and other NWDA programs, events, and activities, sign up for our e-bulletin mailing list.

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