Special exhibition: In the Wake of the Vikings

In 1962, the remains of five Viking ships emerged from the mud at Roskilde Fjord.
The find turned out knowledge of Nordic maritime culture upside down and opened the door to the Viking Age world.

The special exhibition In the Wake of the Vikings is the story about how the five Skuldelev ships have shaped the museum to what it is today: how the remarkable find has been of crucial importance for maritime archaeology in Denmark and been the driving force behind far-reaching archaeological experiments within reconstruction and sailing.

Climb Aboard

For more than 20 years, the trading ship and warship moored at the Museum's indoor jetty have provided the backdrop for teaching, play and fantasies of ships returned from distant shores. Now the mooring lines have been cast away and the ships will finally set sail.

Climb Aboard, the 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 calm breeze, to storms, thunder and high seas. How the atmosphere shifts from boredom-induced stupor to one of dramatic energy.

The five reconstructions

The five Skuldelev ships were built and used by people who left innumerable traces in the vessels: The forms of the ships reveal their function, the waters they were built to sail, and the boatbuilders' wishes for sailing capabilities. The wood fibre structure tell us how certain parts of the tree were used to build specific ship parts. And tool marks tell us how the boatbuilder used axes, planes and drills.

The Viking Ship Museum's reconstructions are lying in the Museum Harbour, side by side with the traditional wooden boats. The harbour environment and the associated exhibitions and activities underline the direct connection between the Skuldelev ships in the Viking Ship hall and the successors - building a bridge between history and tradition. 

Exhibitions at the Viking Ship Museum

The museum's exhibitions are modern historical narratives about the Vikings and their ships. Traditional forms of museum dissemination in text and images are combined with sound, light, digital installations, engaging activities and artistic expressions keeping the maritime culture alive for young and adults.

The audience are not brought back in time - the cultural history is brought into present day...

The five Viking ships - The Skuldelev Ships

During the late Viking Age, a system of barriers are established on Roskilde Fjord, making it possible to control the sea routes to one of Denmark's great royal and ecclesiastical cities. 
Three worn-out ships are towed out to the narrowest point, just outside the village of Skuldelev. The ships are filled with stones and sunk in Peberrenden, the most direct route to Roskilde. the sailing channel. After twenty years, the barrier is reinforced with two more ships. An effective defence system is created.

A thousand years later an iron cofferdam is driven into the seabed around the barrier. One of the most significant excavations in Denmark can begin...

Experience the five Viking ships, found in Roskilde Fjord. Together, they provide a unique perspective on Viking Age maritime culture: shipbuilding, seamanship, trade, defence and warfare - and the ability to journey far and wide and explore new horizons.