Prepare for a Viking invasion...
Life in Britain would be very different today without the influence of our Viking ancestors – from the language we speak to the towns we live in to the sagas and tales that still influence our culture. Now, the story of our Viking past is being explored in two significant exhibitions at Nottingham Lakeside Arts this winter. Building on the University’s expertise in Viking Age studies, the exhibitions will reveal how the Vikings transformed and shaped every aspect of life in Britain, delving deep into their fascinating world. Unleash your inner Viking and come on a voyage of discovery with us…
Viking: Rediscover the Legend
Think Vikings and you probably get an image of a horned-helmet-wearing warrior bent on pillage and plunder – but the reality was rather different.
Viking: Rediscover the Legend, a major touring exhibition from the British Museum and York Museums Trust, aims to depict what Vikings were actually like rather than the popular myths that surround them. Challenging the misconception that they were just violent raiders, the exhibition provides a new interpretation on what it really meant to be a Viking and brings together significant Anglo-Saxon and Viking artefacts, including some of the most well-known hoards ever discovered in this country.
“The exhibitions coming to Nottingham provide an amazing opportunity to examine regional Viking heritage within its national and international context,” said Dr Clare Pickersgill, Keeper of the University of Nottingham Museum.
“Viking: Rediscover the Legend provides a unique opportunity to explore the very different impacts that the Vikings had in different parts of the British Isles,” adds Dr Gareth Williams, Curator of Viking Collections at the British Museum. “The collaboration between the British Museum and the York Museums Trust combines two of the leading Viking collections in the UK, including spectacular silver hoards, jewellery and weapons, but also objects from everyday life.”
Becoming a Scandinavian stronghold under the Danelaw over 1,000 years ago, the legacy of Viking rule can be seen in the Midlands in the place names and local dialects we still use today. Danelaw Saga: Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands tells the tale of how the Vikings shaped the East Midlands with artefacts, maps and medieval documents, expanding the story developed in Viking: Rediscover the Legend.
Jointly curated by Professor Judith Jesch and Dr Roderick Dale of Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, together with the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections, the exhibition is the first to explore the considerable Viking influence on the East Midlands. Examining the routes of Viking expeditions, coins brought from the Middle East, places whose names evoke our Viking past and the heritage of artefacts worn by the Viking women that settled here, Danelaw Saga provides a unique opportunity to examine Viking influences on the region.
“The East Midlands was part of the Danelaw, a part of England that was under Viking rule during the Viking Age approximately 1,000 years ago,” said Professor Jesch. “It’s major towns and cities were Viking centres and the Viking influence may still be seen in place names – for example Linby, from Old Norse ‘lind’ (‘lime-tree’) and ‘by’ (‘farmstead, village’). Our project is very exciting for scholars interested in Vikings as well as the wider public who want learn about this vast history on our doorstep.”
Viking: Rediscover the Legend is at the Djanogly Gallery from Saturday 25 November 2017 to Sunday 4 March 2017.
Danelaw Saga: Bringing Vikings Back to the East Midlands is at the Weston Gallery from Friday 15 December 2017 to Sunday 8 April 2018.
Supporting the exhibitions are a huge number of talks, workshops and activity sessions for all ages, encouraging you to discover the world of the Vikings and uncover their remarkable legacy.
York Helmet. Image Courtesy of York Museums Trust
Viking Brooch. Image Courtesy of York Museums Trust
Walrus ivory gaming piece: Lewis Chessman © The Trustees of the British Museum.