Vermont Finns as an immigrant group

LUDLOW, Vt. – Recently, sixth graders from Ludlow Elementary School with their teacher, Heidi Baitz, visited the museum for a daylong immersion into the Finnish culture. Ludlow and surrounding towns had many Finnish immigrants settle in this area from the early 1900s through the 1950s.

Ludlow Elementary School students learn about Finnish culture at the Black River Academy Museum. Photo provided.

This educational experience combined the fields of social science, language, arts, and utilized the museum’s research facilities and vast collection of Finnish artifacts. The students formed groups and participated in weaving, making birch bark crafts, dancing, singing, learning common Finnish phrases, and cooking. Lunch was a traditional Finnish pancake, which they prepared, and the traditional coffee hour included Finlandia cheese, Finn Crisp, herring, and pulla, a braided cardamom sweet bread.

The team working with the students were Sue Pollender, museum president and retired Ludlow teacher; Georgia Brehm, museum director; Marcia Wemple, assistant to the director; Wendy Regier, weaver and member of VT Weaver’s Guild; Ulla Cook, native Finnish speaker and Ludlow’s town clerk and treasurer; and Joan Willett, museum trustee and retired secondary education teacher.

This program is open to any youth groups in the area including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H Members, and local church youth organizations. For more information, please contact Georgia Brehm at 802-228-5050 or email

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