Sea Stallion on new mission

When the Viking Ship Museum pulls the Sea Stallion onto dry land on Saturday, it will be the last time for many years.

The management of the Viking Ship Museum have decided that the Sea Stallion shall have a new future in a house where the ship can be exhibited with all its equipment and where the history of the experimental archaeological work, the construction of the ship and the fantastic trial voyage from Roskilde to Dublin and back can be told. This means that the Sea Stallion will not sail again for many years.

This has not been an easy decision for the museum’s management and it has taken a long time. In August 2008, the Sea Stallion returned home from its epic voyage to Dublin and since its return, the ship has been the object of a great deal of interest from visitors to the museum. In May 2009, a special exhibition opened on the fantastic journey and it is still possible to see and experience the journey in text, pictures and film.  With an exhibition house for the ship, the project with the Sea Stallion will reach completion.

Concrete knowledge of the Vikings’ longships

The Sea Stallion brought home with it new knowledge of the longships of the Viking Age, their speeds, sailing characteristics and organisation. The large body of knowledge was analysed and subsequently published. The museum is already engaged in formulating new visions and perspectives for the marine archaeological research and narrative on the person, the ship and the sea.

A new building around the Sea Stallion will be an important step forward in this narrative.

It would have been obvious to continue the voyages with the Sea Stallion. The ship is there, the crew is still active and many experiences can be anticipated in the future. But there are also four important reasons for the project to stop now.

  • More voyages do not increase the communication value. On the contrary, there is a risk of diluting and complicating the story of the Sea Stallion, of destroying the sense of unity and disturbing the publics association of the ship with the fantastic and the extraordinary.
  • The ship can give the museum new attraction value as an exhibition object in a new exhibition building, where the story of the reconstruction, building and voyage can be told as a unique, coherent and comprehensible story. The ship will be able to attract more guests and thereby contribute to stabilising and developing the future work of the museum.
  • The project with the Sea Stallion has given the museum a boost in all areas. It would not develop the museum further to continue sailing the ship. We should therefore concentrate our energies on developing new projects that can move the museum into the future.
  • More voyages with the Sea Stallion will not produce important new research results. The museum would be able to qualify the existing data and clarify details, but seen from a more general perspective, more important research results can be achieved at present by carry out experiments with the reconstructions that are not as well documented.

Friendships and marriages

Over the past five years, more than 250 volunteer crew members have accompanied each other through dramas and events. Waiting time in harbours and exhausting voyages over open seas have been the ingredients for close and lasting friendships. And several of the crew came together on a more permanent basis. More than 11 nationalities aged from 14 to 65, men and women from all kinds of backgrounds have spent up to 185 days or six months together.

For many of the volunteers, the decision to put the Sea Stallion on dry land means that they will look for new challenges. Many of them will continue as active seafarers in some of the Viking Ship Museum’s other boats. One thing is for sure: they will all have a central place in the story of the voyage in the coming exhibition buildin

The Sea Stallion in the museum?

There are still a number of unresolved issues, but the objective is clear. It must be possible to pull the Sea Stallion back into the element in which it belongs. I twill not be a museum in the traditional sense. The placing of the building, its physical design, its size and not least its funding are still completely new and unexplored challenges that the museum is now tackling.

Facts
The Viking Ship Museum’s ships will be hauled ashore on Saturday 31 October.

The boat associations will meet at 10 ’o clock and empty the ships of ballast and rigging. The ships will be hauled ashore just after midday.

Admission: Entry to the Viking Ship Hall costs: Adults DKK 60, students DKK 50, children DKK 0-17 free.