The exhibition, which opens on 20 March, will feature a full scale replica 14m coastal cargo Viking ship, from 11th century Denmark. Sitting in the heart of the new exhibition, the imposing vessel, built by the Museum’s boat building team and volunteers, will invite visitors to climb aboard and discover what it was like to sail and row in these awe inspiring ships.
Locals and visitors to Falmouth witnessed the boats arrival as it was lifted and craned into the Museum’s exhibition space with just an inch to spare.
At the same time, students from Falmouth Marine School were rowing a 6m Viking vessel to the Museum’s pontoon. The iconic Viking small boat, a 6m Norwegian Faering, built by ‘apprentice Viking boat builders’ from Falmouth Marine School, is the centrepiece of a ‘touch and feel’ boat builder’s yard.
Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager, at National Maritime Museum Cornwall says: “Months of back-breaking but enormously rewarding hard work came to fruition today. Teams of ‘Viking boat builders’, from volunteers to students, from the Museum and from Falmouth Marine School have tirelessly committed many hours to the construction of these stunning vessels. These are the first objects to be installed into the new exhibition and to see them ‘raid’ the Museum is a real highlight.”
“Today is also quite an emotional day as we remember a great friend, Brian Cumby, who was instrumental in the early stages of the Viking ship build and leaves a great legacy behind.”
Head of Boat Building at Falmouth Marine School, Jonny Mills says: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to work on a live project, to a tight deadline and to use traditional techniques; something they will be expected to do once they qualify from Falmouth Marine School. The boat was ‘built by eye’ with the aid of some drawings and advise and help from Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in Denmark; they advised us to use a technique called clinker planking of oak and larch. We then fastened the boards with locally handmade pure iron nails and roves.
“I am delighted with the results, the Faering is beautiful and I am excited to see it as part of the exhibition showcasing our students skills. Come and see her.”
The new Viking Voyagers exhibition invites visitors to take a journey into the Viking world, to discover the secret to the Vikings’ success and explore the truth behind the popular myth of the bloodthirsty raiders. Encounter Norse voyagers, experience Viking life over 1000 years ago with interactive exhibitions and climb aboard the 14 metre cargo vessel.
Get up close to rare antiquities on loan from the British Museum, National Museum of Ireland, National Museum of Denmark and Manx National Heritage, many on display for the first time in the UK.
Viking Voyagers opens at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth on Friday 20 March.