Vikings: Beyond the Legend in Philadelphia

Press Release
Vikings: Beyond the Legend in Philadelphia

Vikings: Beyond the Legend in Philadelphia (Photo by Museums Partner GmbH)

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Philadelphia, PAPhillyBite Vikings at the Franklin Institute - Vikings: Beyond the Legend , is an interactive exhibition that explores the people, traditions, and influence of the legendary Viking Age, makes its North American debut at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on October 13.

A reconstruction of the 122-foot Roskilde 6 using 25% of the ship's original preserved planks, the centerpiece of "Vikings: Beyond the Legend" making its North American premiere at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on October 13, 2018.

The exhibition reveals fresh insights through the latest archaeological discoveries that show the evolution of Vikings, providing a more accurate portrayal of them as skilled artisans, farmers, traders, and explorers who made a significant impact on our modern world.

"Vikings is a spectacular exhibition that exposes not only who these explorers really were but also showcases their cultural influence, achievements, and inventions revealed through some fascinating recent archaeological discoveries. An exceptional collection of artifacts and experiences that will certainly satisfy our modern-day fascination with the Viking culture."

Featuring more than 600 treasured artifacts on loan from the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen and never before on display in the U.S., the exhibit is designed to go beyond the legend to convey the true story of the voyagers who set sail from Scandinavia centuries ago.

Among the hundreds of archaeological finds curated for the Philadelphia, the exhibition includes preserved planks from the longest and most remarkable Viking warship: the 122-foot Roskilde 6. 25% percent of the ship's original planks were fitted into a steel frame designed to recreate its full length and form.

Surrounded by striking multimedia sound and light show, and augmented reality interactives—the recreated Roskilde 6 is the centerpiece of the new exhibition dominating the 10,000 square foot Mandell Center. Dating to c. 1025, and excavated in 1997—Philadelphia marks only the second time the recreated ship is on display outside of Europe.

"The Vikings have captivated imaginations all across the world and conquered popular culture. Their impact on transportation, navigation, politics, warfare, language and the map over the course of history was enormous," said Larry Dubinski, President, and CEO of The Franklin Institute.

 The exhibition has seven sections featuring exquisite artifacts balanced with interactive technology and immersive environments including:

  • 600 archaeological finds on loan from the National Museum of Denmark, never before on display in North America.
  • A reconstruction of the Roskilde 6 using 25% of the original, preserved planks.
  • The full-size 21-foot replica ship Joanna, reconstructed by skilled curators with shipbuilding techniques and materials used in the Viking Age. 
  • A "ghost ship" represented by a sculpture of hanging iron replica rivets from a burial ship, on display to show how archeologists were able to discern the shape/size of the vessel from rivets found during the excavations.
  • A full-scale replica of the Jelling Rune Stone often called Denmark's birth certificate.
  • Elaborate jewelry and coins.
  • Unique artifacts like "Thor's hammer", Ulfberht swords, the Hevring Flak rudder—and other striking examples of the work of highly skilled craftspeople who creatively used textiles, wood, metal, bone, leather, glass, and ceramics to create pieces for domestic life, ornamentation, and battle.
  • Hands-on activities about everyday life, traditional clothing, the rune alphabet, and Viking games.
  • Interactive components including an opportunity to pick up a precise replica of a Viking Age sword to feel its weight and balance, and all new for Philadelphia—an augmented reality rowing experience where visitors use a physical replica oar and test their ability to maintain the rowing cadence necessary to move a Viking ship.

Tickets for members of The Franklin Institute are now on sale, with a public on-sale date of July 31. The Franklin Institute is proud to present Vikings: Beyond the Legend in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion and in the Mandell Center from October 13 through March 3, 2019. To complement the exhibition, the film Vikings will be showing in the Tuttleman IMAX® Theater. Special savings for groups of 15 or more are available with reservation.  


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