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Viking themed exhibition sails into Whitehaven

Real-life Viking characters will be sailing into Whitehaven

WHITEHAVEN will turn Viking this summer when a museum hosts a unique collaboration that spans a continent.

The Beacon Museum will host an exclusive exhibition Discover the Vikings, offering a popular combination of artefacts, replicas and digital interactives that will unpack the north of England’s rich Norse heritage.

Opening on June 29, Discover the Vikings will invite visitors to discover real-life Viking ‘celebrities’, get up close to Viking-age skeletons and uncover Norse myths and sagas.

Within the exhibition, the Valhalla section explores life and death in Viking Britain through 1,000-year-old artefacts and a replica boat dressed for a ship burial. In the Heroes section, visitors can learn what the archaeological evidence can reveal about this heroic age through human remains bearing the battle injuries of a warrior. There is also the opportunity to step inside an interactive Viking tent for the full atmospheric experience.

Discover the Vikings is an amalgamation of two touring exhibitions from The JORVIK Group, the team behind the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre.

Alan Gillon, The Beacon Museum’s Learning Officer, said: “When talking about Cumbria’s ancient history, often the Romans hog the limelight due to their long lasting buildings and roads that they left behind. The Norse settlers were much more migratory, and so their history is revealed more through spoken folklore, place names and small treasure troves. ‘Copeland’ itself has its origins in the Old Norse for ‘bought land’, while many other place names point to a strong Norse heritage within the area.

“There is little record of stereotypical ‘Viking’ raids having ever taken place in Cumbria, and the Norse settlers were seemingly much more integrated with local populations as they traded back and forth across the Irish Sea. The word ‘Viking’ actually refers to seafaring raiders that were famed for their violence, as opposed to the largely peaceful Norse population as a whole.

“Here in The Beacon Museum, we hold a vital clue in the Norse story of western Cumbria. Recent studies on the Beckermet Norse hoard have revealed that the silver ingots found in 2014 originated from across mainland Europe, even containing traces of Islamic dirham coins; proof, if any is needed, that the region was connected to a global network of Norse trading.”

Discover the Vikings will open on June 29 with a launch day featuring activities and events. The exhibition is suitable for visitors of all ages and runs until September 29.

For more information on the exhibition, and the events and workshops that will accompany it, telephone 01946 592302 or visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk.

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