The alternative universe of the Nordic Heritage Museum is in an old Ballard school. Each Nordic country gets its own classroom for displays of history, including life-size reconstructions of kitchens, bakeries, churches with starchy preacher mannequins, and an early Swedish Hospital room. All this fishing-logging-Viking tradition contrasts with a contemporary exhibition of sleek, smart new creations in furniture, textiles, glassware, and ceramics by 17 Swedish designers—all ladies of a still-rising generation. Some of these designs are so great as to seem naturally occurring. Thrusting an umbrella into a living sponge is, for instance, a poem of a storage system. (Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St, 798-5707, 10 am–4 pm, $6)