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The Vikings are coming to Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, Canada will be hosting the final stop of the North American tour of Vikings: The Exhibition.

The Royal Ontario Museum – photo by Bardia Photography / Flickr

Beginning on November 4th, it draws on current archaeological scholarship and research, offering a fresh perspective on the Viking age that challenges some of the commonly held myths and perceptions about the lives of the Norse people and this period of European history.

“The Vikings have had a profound impact on the modern imagination,” says Josh Basseches, Director & CEO of the ROM. “This exhibition presents a new and unexpected interpretation of the Vikings, as not only seafaring warriors, but a people who built a rich and varied culture. Our visitors will be surprised by what they see. The ROM showing is the first exhibition of Vikings we’ve ever staged, and we’re particularly delighted to include a Canadian perspective that contributes to our understanding of the Viking history in Canada.”

Transporting visitors to the Viking Age, between the 8th to the 11th centuries, Vikings explores the rich and often misunderstood history of Viking life and culture. Through modern archeological discoveries and research, visitors learn how this seafaring civilization was rooted in a complex society of warriors, farmers, explorers, artisans, craftsmen and merchants.

Featuring interactive displays and nearly 500 original objects from the collections of the Swedish History Museum – many rarely seen outside of Scandinavia – the exhibition looks at the work, family life, religion, trade and social hierarchy underpinning Norse society. While Vikings were recognized as master ship-builders and sword and axe makers, the range of objects on display also highlights their extraordinary craftsmanship in ceramic ware, textile, iron, silver, bone and leather making used for their ceremonial pieces and everyday items.

“Vikings provides visitors with a holistic perspective on who the Norse were, how they changed through time and how they constantly pushed the boundaries of their world through innovation and exploration,” says Craig Cipolla, ROM Associate Curator of North American Archaeology. “The archaeological materials and interactive displays in the exhibition allow visitors to see and experience Viking culture and history from valuable new angles.”

The exhibition also features two reconstructed Viking ships – the 13 foot Arby, and the 32 foot Eik Sande. Both vessels have been meticulously re-created using Viking processes and materials of the time, providing visitors with unique insights into Norse boat-building techniques, and the symbolism and mythology of their ships.

To round out the exhibition, the ROM has included a North American component that explores the arrival and settlement of Norse people in Canada. Additional objects – including pieces from the Museum’s own ancient cultures collection, text records, site maps and satellite images shed light on the daily life, trade and interaction of these Norse settlers with Indigenous peoples.

“Raymond James is proud to once again partner with the ROM to present this unique Vikings experience in a one-of-a-kind exhibition,” says Paul Allison, Raymond James Ltd, the main sponsor of the event. “The ROM continues to break new ground to enhance the cultural and educational experiences for its visitors. We are confident this exhibition will be another fascinating and fun-filled adventure for Viking explorers of all ages.”

Vikings: The Exhibition will run from November 4, 2017 to April 2, 2018. To learn more, please visit the Royal Ontario Museum website.

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