The whole world is watching

The curiosity is endless when it comes to the historical test sail this summer and this demands great efforts from the Viking Ship Museum.

By Henrik Kastoft

It may sound like a never-ending project – like explaining the squaring of the circle.

The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde has decided to communicate the research to the public while it is actually carried out.

In other words: the story about the world's biggest reconstruction of a Viking ship is communicated to the public while the ship is sailing.

And that is not easy.

”How are we going to tell the story about the ship when she is far from land and the public? How do we tell about a ship, which only few people will see on her way? How are we going to communicate the stories from a crew that only few will be meeting? The answers are found in an advanced website and close cooperation with local press and media,” says Preben Rather Sørensen, head of the secretariat planning Sea Stallion's test sail from Roskilde to Dublin.

”We are thinking out loud”

The challenge for the Viking Ship Museum does not get any easier when the whole world is watching. The historical sail of the Sea Stallion from Roskilde to Dublin has already become a major story that the media outside the Danish borders are following.

Just recently CNN described the project and not long ago an Australian radio called up a crew member to hear how a test sail actually went.

”We have decided to communicate our research while it is taking place. The research staff at the museum is thinking out loud, while things are happening at sea. And they are doing so to give visitors at the museum and the public a chance to follow the sail. The research of the Viking Ship Museum is not old fashioned and it does not relate to just a small group of scholars. Our research is sailing the ocean and collecting results, understandable for anyone who is interested in the Viking Age, wooden boats and seamanship”, says Preben Rather Sørensen.

The Museum has a plan

To ensure the fulfilment of its communication goals concerning Sea Stallion's trial voyage the Viking Ship Museum has set up a Communication and Education plan.

”It tells, that we will focus on the journey, the Viking Age, the image of the Viking, the longship and of course the news and stories that come up during the sail. A great number of Danish and international media is involved in this business. Furthermore a film will be produced and the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde and the National Museum in Dublin will display an exhibition about the trip”, says Preben Rather Sørensen.

”We will develop a brilliant website with daily reports from the ship, which will give many a chance to follow life on board in every detail. Readers will almost feel like being on board, but are spared  the sea sickness, the odour from the neighbour and the dogwatch from midnight to four in the morning”.

» Download the Dissemination plan