Livsreise (lifs-rye-sa) translates to “Life’s Journey.” It is a generational journey, encompassing not only the physical journey Norwegian emigrants traveled, but also the continued journey as generations embrace their Norwegian Heritage here in Stoughton, Wisconsin and across the nation. The Livsreise logo is inspired by the åttebladrose, or eight petal rose, commonly found in Norwegian textiles.
In 2011, members of the Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc. board of trustees conceived of the idea of a Norwegian Heritage Center whose purpose was to create a meaningful experience for Stoughton, WI residents and others to learn of Norwegian Cultural Heritage—Livsreise was born. The charitable foundation’s founder: Janet L. Bryant (widow of Edwin Bryant—one of the founders of Nelson Muffler Corporation and supporter of the Stoughton Community) formed the foundation to honor Edwin and his lifelong giving to Stoughton. The Mission of Livsreise is to create an experience that allows visitors to explore Stoughton’s Norwegian identity and relate this to the culture that Stoughton and the surrounding area have long embraced.
Livsreise includes interpretations of the journey from Norway, features the cultural heritage brought to Stoughton and shares stories of individual immigrants. Also featured are changing exhibits and displays highlighting Norwegian heritage and arts organizations including the Vesterheim National Norwegian American Museum. Additionally, Livsreise is home to a genealogy center that operates in cooperation with Norwegian American Genealogical Center/Naeseth Library and a 68-seat auditorium.