The Norwegian Collection documents the Norwegian Immigration to Texas and the early settlement of the Norse Community in Bosque County. The permanent exhibit is considered to be the largest collection of Norwegian artifacts in the South and Southwest. Artifacts include jewelry, folk art and books from Norway, furniture handmade in Bosque County, and everyday household articles used in the early life of the Norse Community. The museum is recognized as being a significant repository of all things relating to the Texas Norwegian Immigration.
Perhaps the collection's most famous artifact is a rocking chair hand made by Cleng Peerson in the 1850s. Cleng Peerson is described as the “Norwegian Pathfinder to America” and is recognized as a father of Norwegian immigration to America. He died in Bosque County in 1865 and is buried in the Norse Community. King Olaf V of Norway came to the museum in 1982 to see Cleng Peerson’s chair and the museum’s Norwegian Collection.
The collection can trace its origins to early Norwegian immigrant Jacob Olson who began collecting items of interest in the 1880s. A man of unusual foresight, he began his own museum in his home and collected items that he knew would be of interest to future generations. In 1924 he gave his collection to Clifton Junior College with the provision that it would never leave the county. When Clifton College closed in 1954, the former college corporation funded the original museum building and began the current nonprofit corporation.