Climb Aboard, an inter-active exhibition at the Viking Ship Museum, is a story of voyaging across open sea. All that you see, hear, feel and sense with and within your body, while the day goes from clear, bright morning to an all-encompassing darkness. Changes in weather from blinding sunshine and a calm breeze, to storms, thunder and high seas. How the atmosphere shifts from boredom-induced stupor to one of dramatic energy.
A cinematic projection of a distant horizon brings the walls around ships and sail to life and follows the hulls rhythm in the waves. Light from 30 LED lamps creates a vault of changing colours above the room and beams of light meets in a floating night sky. Authentic recordings from Sea Stallion and Ottar’s voyages is composed into a soundscape of creaking masts, the noise of the wind, the skipper’s commands and waves beating against the ship’s sides.
The analogue and enclosing installation will give Museum guests the opportunity to experience first-hand the forces, senses and feelings at play when sailing across open sea, in an open ship.
The two ships are stocked with equipment and trading goods, which underline their function and invite for exploration; guests can open barrels and chests, have a look below deck, take a rest in the soft skins beneath the ship’s tent or try their hand as helmsman.
Aboard the warship, the cramped conditions can be experienced, and chests with warrior equipment reveal the hierarchy aboard. On the trading ship, iron bars, slate, antlers, silk, polar bear skin and amber bear witness to the merchants’ networks and sailing routes.
The experience is enhanced by the opportunity to dress in reconstructed Viking Age clothing and step into the role as a merchant sailing towards the Mediterranean markets or a chieftain heading towards the English coast.
A curated collection of objects, printed quotes, images and illustrations covers one end of the room. Display cases and drawers with materials and reconstructions of archaeological finds make room for stories of the objects and life on board the ships. The quotes provide a link between Viking Age travel descriptions and the Museum guests’ own experiences, while the images and illustrations represent a ‘pictorial language’ that partly replaces the exhibition text.
The exhibition Climb Aboard is supported by Kraks Fond and developed in collaboration between scenographer Sarah Piyannah Cederstrand, the digital design agency Yoke and the Viking Ship Museum.