The Vikings have been putting their mark on various different societies for centuries, and now you can learn all about it! The Museum of Canadian History is showing the exhibit Vikings to help display who this famous group of people were and to set the record straight about certain aspects of their lives while they lived. When asked to visit this exhibit, the history buff in me jumped all over this opportunity. I had studied this group of people while in high school and university because I found them so fascinating, and could not wait to see what this exhibit has in store for me.
Vikings were not the bearded barbarians with horned helmets we have come to think they were through literature and film. Vikings features a beautiful array of interactive displays and 500 amazing artifacts from The Swedish History Museum, with some of these pieces rarely being displayed outside of Sweden. In this acclaimed international exhibition, Vikings shows visitors a fabled Scandinavian culture that was refined, complex and was able to achieve much while they existed.
Once inside of the exhibit, it felt as though I had entered a mythical realm while being in a very modern space. There are prints on the walls of various Scandinavian landscapes to give visitors a feel of where the Vikings lived.
From there, you are directed towards seeing different aspects of Viking life and what the major groups of people were like with some of the artifacts in display cases found in their graves. Fun fact: women of the Viking Age were on more of an equal level to men than in later times as long as they were not slaves.
It was also fun to see what farm life was like for the Vikings. This exhibit displayed a taste of what it was like in video wall/artifact displays that I thought was done in a clever way. On the other side of this displays was a section, visitors could also touch some of the artifacts such as sheepskin and other materials. My kids really enjoyed getting to be able to sit down and feel for themselves what some of these pieces felt like. They really enjoyed this part of Vikings.
Fashion lovers, rejoice! Besides all of the lovely pieces of jewellery in this exhibit, there is a section where some Viking clothing is featured. My daughter, the mini fashionista she is, spent some time admiring some of the pieces on display.
Another part of Vikings I found interesting was their interactive touch screen showing how the Vikings believed the world was created. Visitors are able to touch the screen and see the different areas of the world the Vikings lived and the realms where the various Norse gods ruled.
I left one of the most important aspects of Viking life, and this exhibit, for last: boats! The Vikings are known for being a sea-faring people. A large part of this exhibit is dedicated to these vessels. From travel to burial, boats were at the heart of Viking life. I loved seeing the rivet display and the row boat for all to see and admire.
Whether you have a love for history, food, fashion or transportation, Vikings is an exhibit to visit. Audiences of all ages will find something to marvel on their visit back in time, and will be able to take something away from it. Vikings will be at the Canadian Museum of History until April 17, 2016.