Vikings Pull in the Crowds in the US
20 May 2019
Currently on a two-year tour of the United States, the Vikings Begin Exhibition contains exhibits dating back some 1,300 years to the era prior to the Viking Age. The artefacts are usually stored at Gustavianum in Uppsala; however, they are currently on display to a broader audience in the US. Interest in the exhibition has been great and, after visits to Boston and Seattle, it has recently opened at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.
The exhibition Vikings Begin – Treasures from Uppsala University – has been produced by Gustavianum, the Uppsala University Museum, in collaboration with archaeologists from the university. The aim is to explain the events leading to the advent of the Viking Age with the aid of advanced research and exciting artefacts from the university’s collections. Among other things, the exhibition contains artefacts from the burial ground at Valsgärde, north of Uppsala. These artefacts in particular are important material for answering questions about how the Vikings’ society came into being.
The Minneapolis exhibition was opened by Uppsala University deputy vice-chancellor Anders Malmberg and Bruce Karstadt, chair of the American Swedish Institute. Also attending the Minneapolis opening were Mikael Ahlund, director of Gustavianum, and Neil Price, professor of archaeology and ancient history at Uppsala University, who together created the exhibition.
Interest in the Vikings appears to be particularly keen in the areas of the United States with strong Swedish heritage. Over 600 visitors attended the Minneapolis opening to enjoy the exhibition, as well as lectures and a reception in the splendid premises of the American Swedish Institute.
In the autumn, the exhibition will be continuing on its tour of the United States. Although the programme is not yet finalised, many museums have shown an interest in hosting the exhibition.
About Uppsala archaeologist Neil Price’s research:
Viking raids – how did it all start?