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Venture back centuries to one of the most storied
eras of human history: The time of the Vikings.

Don’t miss your last chance to see the Royal BC Museum’s summer blockbuster exhibit Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends, making its first North American stop right here in Victoria through November 11.

Though long the subjects of some of our favourite stories, we learn through this fascinating interactive exhibition from the Swedish History Museum and Museums Partner in Austria that the Viking culture and community was much more multi-faceted than we might believe. (In fact, though the word ‘viking’ appears in Old Norse sources, it is mainly used to describe an activity. Men and women went ‘on a viking’ – a commercial trip or raid.)

The exhibition challenges commonly held beliefs, and with insights into areas such as Viking domestic life, death rituals, the significance of their craft, the power of mythology and the symbolism of their ships, the Vikings emerge in a fascinating new light. While Viking Age society was hierarchical, it was not rigidly so, and women generally had a more equal position in society, sometimes being involved directly in trade or colonization.

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The exhibition includes more than 500 artifacts, including jewellery, swords, axes and clothing – some rare, and many which have never before been shown outside Scandinavia. Visitors can also try their hand at board games, building a Viking ship, or dressing a Viking.

At the time, indigenous Old Norse religion involving the worship of many gods and goddesses was evolving and merging with the newer Christianity. Reflections of that are seen in the exhibit’s many artifacts, such as fine jewellery pieces that include Christian crosses and fish as well as the symbolic tools or animals of the Old Norse gods. Highlights include rune-inscribed spearheads, silver embroidered silk fabric and the oldest known crucifix in Sweden.

Special events at the Museum 

A few special Vikings-related activities coming up at the museum this fall; see the full line-up online.

September 23:
Whim rules the child: Archaeological evidence for childhood in the Viking Age
– Bringing together the diverse evidence from across the Viking world to piece together the puzzle of childhood in the Viking Age with the University of Victoria’s Dr Erin McGuire.

Special tickets required; visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca or call 250-356-7226

September 25:
Vikings ParTEA with Silk Road
– Just as the Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends slays the myths of Vikings being barbarians, Silk Road’s tea-mixing master Daniela Cubelic and acclaimed mixologist and Little Jumbo proprietor Shawn Soole will take everything you know about teas and turn it upside-down. Using local liquors, guests will learn how to mix their own Royal BC Museum tea-infused cocktails, with four unique recipes inspired by Nordic traditions.

Special tickets required; visit royalbcmuseum.bc.ca or call 250-356-7226







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