viking 1Photo courtesy of the Royal BC Museum

A new exhibition at Victoria’s Royal BC Museum is shattering age-old myths about history’s bad boys: the Vikings.

On its first North American stop, the Vikings: Lives Beyond the Legends exhibition highlights recent discoveries and provides fascinating insights into the Viking era.

Artifacts, interactive computer displays and hands-on educational activities help tell the story of the Viking people, illustrating who they really were and how they lived. Vikings challenges commonly held beliefs and misperceptions of the mythical period, breaking through stereotypes as the Vikings emerge in a fascinating new light.

viking 2Photo courtesy of the Royal BC Museum. SHM 16560 (FID 106604 )

The exhibition features more than 500 rare artifacts, including jewellery, swords, axes and clothing – many which have never been shown outside Scandinavia. The objects offer fascinating glimpses into domestic life, family, community, religion, rituals, travel, trade, aristocracy and slavery. Interactive displays provide insights into the significance of these crafts, the power of Viking mythology and the symbolism of their ships.

There are also opportunities for visitors of all ages to explore Viking culture through learning programs and public lectures. These range from the Viking Feature Lecture delivered by Dr Erin McGuire of the University of Victoria, to a lecture by Grant Keddie, Royal BC Museum archaeology curator, on Viking connections to Canada. The museum’s popular Wonder Sunday series will also offer an in-depth look at Viking mythology and symbolism.

vikings 4 Photo courtesy of the Royal BC Museum. SHM 32452 (FID 264234)

Other activities for younger visitors include Night at the Museum: Vikings!, a night of archaeological discoveries – with some Viking yoga in the morning. Saturday Night Alive will teach Viking craft working techniques to all ages and Vikings Summer Camps are being offered to teach children all about what it takes to be a Viking.

The University of Victoria is also offering a special Anthropology course, Life and Death in the Viking World, on-site at the Royal BC Museum. Instructed by Dr Erin McGuire, this third-year course offers a unique opportunity for members of the public to join undergraduate students to examine the nature and impact of the Viking expansion in the North Atlantic.

viking 3Photo courtesy of the Royal BC Museum. SHM 34000:Bj 660 (FID 108914)

IMAX Victoria in the Royal BC Museum is screening a companion film to the exhibition, Vikings: Journey to the New Worlds, a 40-minute large-format documentary film that provides a comprehensive snapshot of the Vikings and their historical and cultural impact, as well as scientific and technological achievements.