Previous exhibitions at the Viking Ship Museum

With the ship as a focal point, temporary exhibition at the Viking Ship Museum have through the years told stories of plundering and conquest in Ireland and the Frankish Empire, 9th century maritime networks across oceans and continents, reconstructions of shipwrecks and trial voyages in the wake of the Vikings, as well as  maritime archaeological discoveries of sunken worlds.

The Battle in Fehmarn Belt, 1644

From 1643-45, there is a feud between Sweden and Denmark - and on a cold October day in 1644, the final, bloody showdown between these two hereditary enemies takes place. In the Fehmarn Belt, a dramatic naval battle is fought, sending three ships to the seabed. Hundreds of years later, maritime archaeologists investigate the wrecks prior to the construction of a tunnel between Lolland and Fehmarn.

The sea erases no trace…

The exhibition 'In Smoke and Flames' is the result of several years of research, carried out by Danish and German researchers from the Viking Ship Museum and the Archäologisches Landesamt Schleswig ‐ Holstein, on behalf of Femern A/S. With the discovery of the three shipwrecks, Swarte Arent, Lindormen and Delmenhorst, we can bring to life the gruesome events that mark the beginning of the end of Denmark’s power in the Baltic Sea.

» Read more about the exhibition 'In Smoke and Flames'...

During 25 years as photographer at the Viking Ship Museum, Werner Karrasch has documented shipbuilding in minute detail, risky voyages in high seas, tar burning in extreme temperatures and finds from underwater excavations.

Photographically, Werner Karrasch doesn't have a free rein. His assigment are determined by professional interest and needs, and the images are a photo documentary experience, influenced by his detailed knowledge of his subjects. Werner Karrasch has developed a distinctive imagery, which expresses the Museum's profile and contribute visually to our cultural heritage. He captures the moment in a universe of impressions, atmosphere and activity - and portrays lights, sounds, smells and leben in a still photograph. The photographs do not always reveal complete stories. The viewer is offered a variety of cues that let dreas take flight and invite the audience to form their own interpretations. Sometimes, the act of documentation becomes magical and gains a poetic dimension.

» Read more about the exhibition here... 

- a trial voyage in a historic landscape

During the summer of 2016 the Skjoldungen boatguild and the Viking Ship Museum complete a trial voyage in the wake of the Norse, 560 nautical miles along the southwest coast of Greenland from Nanortalik to Nuuk. 

In the Viking Ship Hall a small exhibition on the Vikings on Greenland and the advetures of the modern crew can be seen throughout the entire sailing period. The exhibition has two dimensions and mirrors the story of the people, the voyage, the vessel and life - in the Viking Age and now.
The ships current position is visible on a googlemap, tracking it 24 hours, and the historic landscape can be traced on a chart with Norse locations and ruins.

Follow the voyage here and see photos on instagram: @vikingshipmuseum #skjoldungen

The special exhibition, ‘The World in the Viking Age’, provided a new, global perspective on the Viking Age and told a world history about ships, people and objects on the move – from the furthest reaches of Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, and from the Persian Gulf to East Africa and China.

In the 9th century, new seafaring routes were discovered. Sailing ships made it possible to reach worlds, far away from familiar shores. At seafaring’s nodal points, complex new cultures, towns, networks and communities emerged. Voyages connected coasts and brought together people of different ideas, beliefs and traditions.

9th century seafaring transformed the world.

» Read more about the exhibition here... 

At least nine ship finds and parts of several more turned up when the Viking Ship Museum's Museum Island and Museum Harbour were built in 1996-97. Most of the finds were surveyed and excavated; one find still lies under the Museum Island. The excavation was a co-operation between Roskilde Museum, the National Museum and the Viking Ship Museum.

The ships constitute the largest collection of ship finds in Northern Europe. The ships were built between the 1020s and 1330s and consist of one large warship, four to five larger cargo ships with a carrying capacity of 15 tonnes or more, and four small, low-bottomed cargo vessels. During the excavation, more than 150 pieces of rope and a branch with a rune inscription were also found.

In 2013, Peter Madsen's world famous comic strip, Valhalla moved into the Viking Ship Hall. With the exhibition Valhalla at the Viking Ship Museum, the museum opened its doors to Odin, Thor and Loke and showed how the old Nordic gods found new life on paper.

The mythical tales from the Viking Age appeal to a large and varied audience. For many Danes, the comic strip Valhalla was their first introduction to the heroes and villains from Asgård, Midgård and Udgård. The exhibition focused the work involved in producing the comic, from the first sketches to the colourful original prints. Peter Madsen's comtemporary interpretation of the gods was presented in tandem with ancient tales and figurines of gods from the Viking Age. The museum created an interplay between historical and archaeological knowledge and the more modern and popular interpretation, while also allowing the audience to develop their own interpretations and images.

The comic series is a medium full of creativity and imagination. It represents a different way of communicating history and provided a colourful, playful and humorous foil to the original Viking Ships.

The exhibition could be seen from 3. November - 1. December and included lectures, workshops, film and signing of comics.

"I love to look up along the fjord and imagine that there has been a life, a society here 1,000 years ago." Birthe Milandt, museum booking

In 1962 the remains of five Viking ships emerged from the mud at Roskilde Fjord. The find turned our knowledge of Viking Age maritime culture upside down, became crucial for the maritime archaeology in Denmark and is the foundation for the Viking Ship Museum.

With the exhibition Heart and Soul the Viking Ship Museum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the excavation of the Skuldelev ships. The exhibition was based on the enthusiasm and dreams that build bridge between researchers, craftsmen and sailors and has shaped the museum into what it is today.

The exhibition invited you to meet the heart and soul of the museum and go on a journey through years of passionate work with the ships of the Vikings – from the excavation and assembling of the big, scientific puzzle, the We step 50 years back to the excavation, get close to the boatbuilders and follows the sailing reconstructions on trial voyages.

»Read more about the exhibition here... 

In a special exhibition about the work of maritime archaeologists, the Viking Ship Museum invited guests into the deep to explore sunken historical worlds, accompanied by sounds effects of a diver breathing, film from underwater excavations, finds and activities for children.

The exhibition was displayed in the Museum's archaeological workshop, where the latest finds were stored in a large water tank. The tank's content was linked to stories about the work involved surveying, documenting and conserving ships' timbers.
A large wall map illustrated where in Denmark the maritime archaeologists have found archaeological remains, and showed film from the more recent, large-scale excavations.

It was possible to experience the different methods used to locate submerged ship wrecks. See finds from the Stone Age up to the 19th century and feel the difference between conservated and unconserved wood.

An activity sheet guided children through the Museum's exhibition and raised questions that encouraged participation and immersion in the exhibition's stories.

The exhibition was supported by:

  • Nord Stream AG
    - Construction leader and partner in establishing the Baltic Sea gs pipeline

The Viking Ship Museum's maritime archaeologists are responsible for the waters of eastern Denmark, surrounding the islands of Zealand and Bornholm. They protect threatened archaeological remains by co-operating with construction companies who are planning construction projects and responding to reports of discovered materials from local citizens. The maritime archaeologists investigate and excavate sites from all time periods - from the Stone Age to the present.

» Maritime archaeology - archaeology under the sea

In 2007 the Viking Ship Museum opened a special exhibition about the Sea Stallion from Glendalough's voyage from reconstruction model to sailing with the worlds largest reconstructed Viking ship.
'From dream to reality' ended the great experiemtal archaeology project 'Thoroughbred of the Sea' and put a new perspective on Viking Age longships.

The exhibition spread across the entire museum area and communicated the reconstruction of the original ship, Skuldelev 2, building the Sea Stallion, sailing experiences, research results. life on board and the stories from the adventurous voyage.

Museum guests could see footage from the voyage on big screen, read the log book and write their own log position, find out what the 60 crew members ate, see the toilet and get close to the enourmous vessel.

Read more:
» Project Thoroughbred of the sea
» Ship reconstruction

After Charlemagne’s death in 814 AD, the political and economic situation in the Frankish Empire was marked by uncertainty and the country’s defences were greatly weakened. The Vikings knew of the country’s great riches through established trade contacts between Scandinavia and the Frankish Empire.
In the middle of the 7th century, the Vikings began widespread looting of the area, which emcompassed modern-day France, he Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.

...The northmen came to Frisland with 252 ships, and after receiving in taxes as they decided, they went to other regions
Annales Bertiniani 852

With the special exhibition. 'Bloodshed', the Viking Ship Museum gave an insight into Viking depredations in the Rhineland and the tragic situation that became a reality for their victims. Written sources and archaeological finds from the plundering of the town of Zutphen in the Netherlands, bear witness to the brutality of Viking agression. However, the exhibition also explored the political background of the Viking devastation and the events leading up to those acts, as well as revealing the fate of the attackers when the Frankish Empire armed themselves for combat.

The exhibition was created in co-operation with:

  • Museums in Malmö, Sweden
  • Centrall Museum Utrecht
  • Rheinisches LandesMuseum Bonn
  • Rheinisches Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

 The exhibition was supported by:

  • Nordea Danmark
  • Augustinus Foundation

Vikings on stamps 2004
- in collaboration with Poul Larsen, The Maritime Stamp club of Scandinavia and in the occasion of Post Danmark's relsease of a stamp series about the Viking Ship Museum.

Symbiose 2003 - 2004
- in collaboration with the Irish artist Ian Stauert, the Danish photographer Kirsten Klein and Irish writter and nobelprize winner Sheamus Heaney.

The Vikings in Ireland 2002 - 2004
- produced in co-operation with the National Museum of Ireland, the Irish embassy to Denmark and The Royal Danish embassy in Dublin.
Surported by År 2000 Foundation.

The reconstructed ship 2002 - 2004
- supported by the Tuborg Foundation

Jukung Boats from Barito Bassin, Borneo 2000
- In collaboration with city planner Erik Petersen. Publication supported by Velux Foundation

The Viking wool sail 1999
- in relation to the international research- and dissemination project on naval textiles, supported by the EU programmer Raphael.

Bronze Age Boats 1998
- produced in collaboration with the National Museum of Denmark. Loans from the National Museum - prehistory, Archäeologisches Landesmuseum für Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schloss Wiligrad, Museum of Lolland-Falster, Moesgård Museum and Museum of South Himmerland.

Snekke harours of the Viking Age 1996
- in collaboration with Institute for name research, Copenhagen University.

Tomoko - a warrior canoe from the Solomon Islands 1993
- in collaboration with the National Museum of Solomon Islands and Danchurchaid. Supported by Unidanmark-Foundation, Danchurchaid and the Danish Ministry of Culture.

Vikings in North America 1992
- loans from Canadian Museum of civilisation, Parks Canada, the National Museum of Denmark and the Arnamagnean manuscript collection. Supported by the Tuborg Foundation, J.L. Foundation, Hafina Foundation and Air Canada.

Kayaks 1991
- in collaboration with the city of Nanortalik, friendships city to Roskilde. Supported by the city of Roskilde, Greenland home rule, The Greenland Foundation of 1959 and the Greenland Foundation of the Danish Folketing.

Reedboats 1990
- Supported by Privatbanken, Danida, Amtsmuseumsrådet, J. L. Foundation, Danchurchaid and Elkem.