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Heart and Soul

The Viking Ship Museum has opened the anniversary exhibition 'Heart and Soul - 50 years with the ships of the Vikings'.
Through photos and film from the museum's extensive archive the anniversary exhibition tells the story of 50 years working with the Viking Ships. Photo: Werner Karrasch

Through photos and film from the museum's extensive archive the anniversary exhibition tells the story of 50 years working with the Viking Ships. Photo: Werner Karrasch

The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the excavation of the five Viking ships in Roskilde Fjord, which became the foundation for the Viking Ship Museum and created the dream om researching and disseminating Viking Age maritime culture.

50 years passionate work

Museum visitors are invited on a journey trough 50 years of passionate work with the ships of the Vikings - from the hectic weeks during the summer of 1962 when five ships emerged from layers of silt and seashells until today, when a fleet of reconstructed Viking ships lie in the Museum harbour and sail on voyages in the wake of the Vikings.
"We have been guided by the dreams and enthusiasm that has shaped the museum since the discovery of the ships. We invite museum visitors to meet the heart and soul of the museum and hopefully it will rub off on them", says museum curator Louise K. Henriksen.

Photos, sounds and artefacts

Photography is the main medium in the exhibition. The many photos take museum visitors back in time and into the excavation. They show the complicated conservation process, the reconstruction of the find and details of the boatbuilding craft. The photos are supplemented with film and sound, as well as ship parts that have never been exhibited before. The sound of an axe and the smell of pine tar accompany historical press clippings, construction drawings and ship models. Films from the voyages recreate the atmosphere of life onboard and the room is filled with voices telling stories of major events, challenges and discoveries. 

A look behind the scenes

Museum visitors can try their hand at drawing ship parts on drafting foil and assembling a reconstruction model. "At the Viking Ship Museum we have moved the research out to the boatyard and out at sea. the interaction between archaeologists, historians, craftsmen and sailors has created the basis for a special work enviroment. With this exhibition we would like to give museum visitors a look behind the scenes and show how we work with the ships - from the historical excavation in 1962 to more than 20 years of reconstruction and sailing" says curator Louise K. Henriksen.

The exhibition continues at the museum website. Here it is possible to read articles on the impact of the ship-find on our knowledge of the Viking Age written by international Viking Age researchers, along with entertaining stories from people who had special experiences during the excavation of the Skuldelev ships.

Throughout the year more events will mark the 50th anniversary, including the Sea Stallion's voyage around Denmark from the 8th - 28th of July and the Water, Wind and Viking Festival at the museum during the weekend of the 28th - 29th. July when the Sea Stallion arrives home.




By: Rikke Tørnsø Johansen

02/07 - 2012


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Vikingeskibsmuseet: Vindeboder 12 . DK-4000 Roskilde | Tlf.: +45 46 300 200 | museum(at) |


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