In-Person - Exploring Your Heritage Through Writing

Folk Art School

Vesterheim Folk Art School

In-Person - Exploring Your Heritage Through Writing

Saturday, March 26-Sunday, March 27 with Kathleen Ernst

Level of Instruction
All levels. No writing experience is necessary. Bring a few personal heirlooms, photographs, or other mementos to class for inspiration if you wish.
$150.00 Members
$200.00 Non-members

Cherished family stories can be preserved in many ways. This workshop will introduce you to several types of writing, including poetry, memoir, fiction, and creative nonfiction. You will enjoy a variety of short writing activities designed to help capture memories or explore what interests you most about your unique family, ethnic group, or community heritage. Inspired by Vesterheim’s rich collection and whatever personal memories or heirlooms you wish to explore, you will leave with drafts of several poems, character sketches, essays, and short stories.

***This class is an in-person class at the Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa***

Please read our COVID-19 Policies here.

The Folk Art greatly values the health and safety of its learners, teachers, and staff and is continuously monitoring local and national COVID-19 statistics, government recommendations, and peer institution guidelines. As with any activity in a public place, there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to COVID-19 infection, please stay home. By registering for a class, attending a program, or visiting the Folk Art School, you voluntarily assume all risks related to COVID-19 exposure and assume them willingly and you agree to follow Vesterheim's COVID-19 policies. Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and respect for the safety of our community as we navigate these difficult times. If you have additional questions, please contact Josh Torkelson, On-Site Program Coordinator, at or call 563-382-9681.


Enrollment Deadline: March 4, 2022

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About the Instructor

Kathleen Ernst
Kathleen Ernst
Kathleen Ernst

Kathleen Ernst of Middleton, Wisconsin, has spent 30+ years exploring and writing about heritage and traditions. She spent 12 years as an interpreter and curator at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum, and another decade developing and scripting instructional programs for public television, including the Emmy-winning Cultural Horizons series. Among Kathleen’s 38 books are the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries for adults and many historical novels for young readers. She has written two nonfiction books, including A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons, which was selected to represent Wisconsin at the National Book Festival. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications. She has taught writing at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Mount Mary College, Vesterheim, and many conferences and workshops.

Learn more: In this episode of the Vesterheim series, Folk Art In Place, Kathleen has some tips for how to get your family stories down in writing!