We hope you'll join us for one (or more!) of our Björklunden seminars. 

These classes are fondly referred to as “vacations with a purpose.”  You'll learn and grow while experiencing the hominess of our lodge and the natural beauty of Lawrence's Door County campus.

Follow these steps to explore seminar options and get registered:

  1. Read through the Seminar courses below and click on "Read More" links to download a flyer with full event details (PDF).
  2. Click the "Register" link to begin registration. 

If you have any questions or challenges, please contact us at  bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu or 920-839-2216.

PLEASE NOTE: Registration is currently open to Boynton Society members and LU leaders only. Full registration begins on February 1, 2024.

Zoom Seminars

Hannah Arendt
Zoom Seminar

Is Evil really Banal?: Hannah Arendt and the Question of Genocide

Date(s): (ONLINE) Thursdays, April 4 – May 2, 2-3:30 pm
Instructor(s): Paul Cohen
Description: The current war in the Middle East has raised anew the urgent question of genocide. But what does the word “genocide” mean? When did it first appear, historically? This seminar will address these questions through a close reading of Hannah Arendt’s brilliant and controversial book, Eichmann in Jerusalem.

"Birth of Fascism" by David Alfaro Siqueiros
Zoom Seminar

The Birth of Fascism

Date(s): (ONLINE) Thursdays, May 9 - June 6, 2-3:30pm
Instructor: Paul Cohen 
Description: There has been a lot of talk about fascism recently, but there is little clarity about what fascism actually means and where it came from historically. This seminar will explore fascism’s historical origins in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany.

In-Person Seminars: Summer

Jun 9 – 14

Democracy Book Club, Mauldin
Jun 9 – 14

Democracy Book Club

Date(s): June 9 - 14
Instructor(s): Bronwyn Mauldin
Description: Over five days we will read and discuss five key works of literature, engaging in deep discussions exploring what we can learn from them to improve civic participation in the life of our communities today.

bench in the woods on the shore of Lake Michigan
Jun 9 – 14

Forests through Time

Date(s): June 9 - 14
Instructor(s): Relena Ribbons
Description: Together, we will learn about the history of the forests at Bjorklunden (including where all those birch trees are!), and how these forests have changed over recent human time scales.

June 16-21

cairn on a beach
Jun 16 – 21

The Mindful Brain

Date(s): June 16-21
Instructor(s): Lori M. Hilt, PhD (’97) 
Description: This seminar will explore how mindfulness has been secularized and utilized in such settings as schools, workplaces, hospitals, as well as in daily life. Additionally, we will explore neuroscience research on how mindfulness changes the brain. *Resident options no longer available. Commuter and auditor still available.

June 23-28

chemical art kit
Jun 23 – 28

Chemistry of Art

Date(s): June 23-28
Instructor(s): Allison Fleshman
Description: In this seminar, we will explore the fascinating chemistry of paintings, learn the chemical reasons dyes bond to textiles, reflect on the importance of light in the experience of art, and explore the chemistry of glass and stained glass.
*$15 materials fee

solar field with a wind turbine along the shores of Lake Michigan
Jun 23 – 28

Energy, Technology and the Environment

Date(s): June 23-28
Instructor(s): Graham Sazama
Description: This seminar examines the fundamental chemistry and physics behind conventional and emerging energy technologies, with a hands-on component to further explore their design and function.

July 14-19

Russian and Ukranian flags
Jul 14 – 19

Russia and Ukraine: From Partners to Enemies

Date(s): July 14-19
Instructor(s): Tim Crain
Description: The seminar will explore the historic relationship between Russia and Ukraine, the future of the two countries engaged in conflict, and why the area is of such vital interest to the EU, NATO, and the United States.

illustrative image of romeo and juliet
Jul 14 – 19

Shakespeare in Love: Romeo and Juliet, 1594-2024

Date(s): July 14-19
Instructor(s): Garth Bond
Description: In conjunction with the Door Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet, this seminar will explore Shakespeare’s iconic depiction of tragic love, a story that has become synonymous with modern conceptions of romantic love around the world.

July 21-26

Adolf Hitler at the Bückeberg Harvest Festival
Jul 21 – 26

Hitler’s War: The Battle for Democracy, 1939-1945

Date(s): July 21-26
Instructor(s): Jerald Podair, Jon Greenwald
Description: On September 1, 1939, emboldened by an alliance of convenience with the Soviet Union and contemptuous of the resolve of Western democracies, Adolf Hitler ordered his troops to invade Poland -- thus began the Second World War.

three movie posters in a row
Jul 21 – 26

Fact or Fiction: Images of Schools and Adolescents in Hollywood Films

Date(s): July 21-26
Instructor(s): Stewart Purkey
Description: In this course we'll watch and talk about contemporary movies, exploring the various ways in which a range of modern Hollywood films (and the occasional foreign film) have influenced, even shaped, Americans' perceptions of schools, the kids who attend them, and the teachers who work in them. 

July 28 - Aug. 2

Resident and Commuter options are no longer available for this week; Auditor options only. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please call 920-839-2216. 

a photo of Joe Biden on the left and Donald Trump on the right
Jul 28 – Aug 2

The Campaign Nobody Wanted

Date(s): July 28 - Aug. 2
Instructor(s): Terry Moran ('82)
DescriptionAs of this writing, the 2024 presidential election looks to be a rerun of 2020. Biden v Trump. And polls show most Americans react the same way to this choice: Ugh.

*Seminar is currently full, waitlist only. To be added to the waitlist, email bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu with your attendance preference (auditor, commuter, resident).

four theater logos over a garden gate
Jul 28 – Aug 2

The Door Four: Theater Seminar

Date(s): July 28 - Aug. 2
Instructor(s): Dan Klarer
Description: An exploration of Door County theaters with local theater artist Dan Klarer. Seminar participants will take trips to four local theaters to watch and then discuss the shows.

Aug. 4 - 9

Resident options are no longer available for this week. Commuter and Auditor options are still available. If you would like to be added to the lodging waiting list, please call 920-839-2216 or email bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu

a man on a tight rope holding a pole, balancing a heart on one side and a brain on the other
Aug 4 – 9

Pragmatism: America’s First (and Only!) Philosophy

Date(s): Aug. 4-9
Instructor(s): Terry Goode
Description: We will explore pragmatisms roots in 17th and 18th century European philosophy, and examine the basic theories of pragmatism, explaining how it answers in new and important ways the primary questions of philosophy in epistemology, ontology, logic, ethics and aesthetics.

milky way galaxy
Aug 4 – 9

A Sky Full of Planets: Exploring the Night Sky and Our Solar System

Date(s): Aug. 4-9
Instructor(s): Megan Pickett
Description: In this course we will explore the history of our exploration of the night, particularly our home in the cosmos: our own solar system. You’ll learn about the discoveries of the latest missions, our plans for the future, and the nature of the more than 10,000 other solar systems now known to exist. ​​​

Aug. 11 - 16

a watercolor painting of vanilla orchid and mellipona bee
Aug 11 – 16

Watercolor: The Expressive Medium

Date(s): Aug. 11-17
Instructor(s): Helen Klebesadel
Description: Participants will be a part of a creative community that invites them to experiment with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional watercolor techniques and learn to create strong individualized artistic statements.

*Seminar is currently full, waitlist only. To be added to the waitlist, call 920-839-2216 or email bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu.


Aug. 25 - 30

chanterelle mushrooms on a forest floor
Aug 25 – 30

Fun with Fungi: Wild Mushrooms and their Relatives

Date(s): Aug. 25-30
Instructor(s): Charlotte Lukes 
Description: This week we will learn mainly about the many types of wild mushrooms in the county. Several PowerPoint color slide programs will be presented about the variety of mushrooms as well as ferns, lichens, mosses, clubmosses and liverworts.

Boynton Chapel interior
Aug 25 – 30

Faith Builds a Chapel: The Legacy of Winifred C. Boynton

Date(s): Aug. 25-30
Instructor(s): Marjorie Graham 
Description: The Norwegian “stavkirke” chapel is the icon of Björklunden, and sits like a jewel at the edge of the forest, facing the shore of Lake Michigan. This seminar will provide an in-depth study of the chapel’s creation, carvings and murals, as well as the Viking myths, Biblical passages and personal stories behind them.

*Seminar is currently full, waitlist only. To be added to the waitlist, call 920-839-2216 or email bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu.


In-Person Seminars: Fall

Sept. 8-11

cover of SIJO: Korea's Poetry Form
Sep 8-11

Sijo: Korea's Poetry Form

Date(s): Sept. 8-11
Instructor(s): Lucy Park
Description: Delve into the fundamentals and history of sijo poetry, read pieces by Korean sijo masters, and write your own sijo poem for a chance to compete and win prizes.

Sept. 15-18

A photo of a man on the street waiting for his daughter who is laying on the ground
Sep 15-18

Deep Looking: Exploring Empathy Through Art

Date(s): Sept. 15-18
Instructor(s): Kevin McCarty
Description: Participants will delve into art interpretation, learning to decipher the signs and symbols embedded within works to uncover rich, nuanced meanings. Discover the profound connections between art, self-awareness, and compassion. *Fall intensive, (above) "Parent Child" by Jeff Wall.

Sept. 22-27

Sept. 29 - Oct. 2

watercolor painting "Wild Lupine" by Helen Klebesadel
Sep 29 - Oct 2

Watercolor: A Fresh Start Immersive

Date(s): Sept. 29 - Oct. 2
Instructor(s): Helen Klebesadel
Description: Explore the fall at Björklunden while enjoying this opportunity to learn, or re-learn, watercolor from an artist passionate about the medium, while enjoying a supportive and friendly learning environment. *$35 materials fee, fall intensive

This seminar is now full. To be added to the waitlist, email bjorkseminars@lawrence.edu with your phone number and preferred registration type, or call the office at 920-839-2216.


Oct. 6-9

a dreamy night scene in London with a Shelock type character walking towards you
Oct 6-9

Cinematic Sherlocks

Date(s): Oct. 6-9
Instructor(s): Doug Northrop
Description: This seminar will explore both how and why so many Sherlock Holmes adaptations come about, what they tell us about heroes and villains, and what values have changed in our culture.

Oct. 13-18

a photo of three cameras taken from above
Oct 13-18

Beginning Digital Photography

Date(s): Oct. 13-18
Instructor(s): Sam Elkind ('82), John Wylie ('77)
Description: This five-day course offers beginners practical guidance on the use of cameras and field experience in the beauty of a Door County autumn. Seminar offered in collaboration and assistance from the Peninsula School of Art. *$35 materials fee

Oct. 20-25

Two Bald eagles in a tree - photo by Kim Blaeser
Oct 20-25

Poetry of Spirit and Witness

Date(s): Oct. 20-25
Instructor(s): Kimberly Blaeser
Description: In this generative class, writers will read poems that meld socially conscious writing with spiritual quest, and experiment with building this complexity into their own poetry.

movie posters for (from left) Casablanca, Red River, Dr. Strangelove, Chinatown, Die Hard
Oct 20-25

Postwar Hollywood Masculinity and its Critics

Date(s): Oct. 20-25
Instructor(s): Paul Cohen
Description: Hollywood films both mirror and help fashion the gender norms at various times in American history. This seminar will focus on how masculinity was constructed in five films between World War II and the 1980s.

Seminar Options & Pricing

There are many ways to experience Björklunden: you may choose to attend a seminar as a resident with room and board, take a class as a commuter and enjoy Sunday dinner here and lunches, or join as an auditor (no meals). Houseguests and children of seminar participants are also welcome to reside at the lodge. Each of these options is available for online registration at the rates indicated below. First preference on housing will be given to seminar participants. 

Viking Decade: we offer an attractive discount for recent grads of Lawrence University. Anyone from classes from 2014-2024 is welcome to join seminars at half price. 

Rates below are for 2024 seminars.

ONLINE SEMINARS                                              $175


Sunday through Friday Seminars Sunday through Wednesday Fall Seminars Fall Intensives: Sunday through Wednesday, 15hrs of instruction
Single $1,300 $815 $985
Double $950 $700 $870
Houseguest (single) $950 $525 $525
Houseguest (double) $625 $480 $480
Child Houseguest $300 $200 $200
Commuter (includes Sunday dinner & lunches) $565 $350 $520
Auditor (tuition only; no meals) $425 $255 $425

Please Note:

  • Some seminars include additional supply fees, which is noted in the class information.
  • Participants in the Fall Sunday through Wednesday seminars may opt to add one or two additional nights stay in the lodge to extend their retreat. However, no classes will be held, or meals served, from Wednesday evening through check-out on either Thursday or Friday morning.

Seminar Guidelines

  • Seminar participants choose only one seminar for each week of attendance.
  • Class sizes are limited. Early registration will help ensure participants get into the seminar they prefer. If registration is no longer available for the course you would like to attend, you may call or email the office to be placed on the wait list. 
  • Registration is open to the general public – participants need not have a connection to Lawrence University in order to attend.
  • Seminar participants may either reside at the estate or commute from the area. 
  • Residents (those staying at the lodge) and Commuters (those who enjoy Sunday dinner and lunches) may arrive after 4 p.m. on Sunday. Instructors may hold a “meet and greet” session with class participants after dinner on Sunday. Auditors (no lodging or meals) arrive when class convenes at 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning.
  • Summer classes typically meet on weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, leaving the remaining time free. Instructors may offer optional afternoon or evening sessions and have the freedom to change the typical schedule if need be. 
  • Public events are often held at Björklunden on any given seminar week, which participants may be able to attend.  Details about these events will be posted at the lodge and announced during Sunday dinner. 
  • Dinner will not be served at the lodge Wednesday evening, as it is our kitchen staff’s night off. Participants are encouraged to support area businesses and sample local cuisine that night. Here are links to the Peninsula Pulse Restaurant Guide as well as articles about local establishments. Please plan accordingly.
  • Most seminars end Friday after lunch. Watercolor ends Saturday after breakfast, and class does not meet that morning.
  • Participants are responsible for acquiring any seminar texts and/or materials and some seminars require a materials fee. Seminar leaders will reach out to students with any pre-arrival preparations. Additionally, please note that some seminar instructors may assign coursework throughout the week.
  • Participants are responsible for bringing their own writing utensils, notebooks, folders, and any other items that will aid in taking notes and organizing class materials. Björklunden will not provide these items.
  • Björklunden may take photographs, videos, audiotape recordings, and other images and sound-based media during courses and events and may use such media for educational, promotional, advertising, and other purposes.

A Note About Communicable Diseases

Björklunden adheres to the Lawrence University campus Mask Friendly Campus policy:

On our mask friendly campus, masks can be worn by anyone at any time on our campus but are not universally required. Additionally, individuals may determine their own guidelines for their individual space, meaning that:

  • Seminar leaders may require masks in classrooms based on room capacity, air ventilation, and/or personal preference.
  • Participants may require guests to wear masks in their presence.
  • Staff may require masking and/or cancellation of the remainder of a seminar week if the health of the community is threatened.

Due to the nature of the communal experience enjoyed at Björklunden seminars, participants are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted. We will follow CDC COVID protocols that are in place at the time of the seminar.