Nothing lasts forever and everything must die, even inanimate Viking museum exhibits like the one currently undergoing its own personal Ragnarok in Connecticut. But before it started its walk down Hel-Road, The Vikings Begin lived a glorious warrior’s life. The collection of primarily Vendel Period artifacts left their home in Uppsala to discover new shores and spread the story of their shaping of the subsequent Viking Age. And what better place to kick off the exhibit’s Vinland tour than Mystic Seaport, which is not only a badass historic maritime museum in its own right, but also just down the road from where Julia Roberts once served pizza back in the ’80s?
I had the honor of joining one of my brothers-in-arms and his shield maiden for the four-wheeled voyage to visit the exhibit shortly before it met its own predetermined fate yesterday. And it was a great exhibit full of authentic swords, shields, helmets, and brooches galore, as well as some nicely-done ship reconstructions, including one of that was used in the early research-and-development phase of the construction of the Draken Harald Hårfagre, which itself called into Mystic Seaport. And the multimedia bit was a cool icing on the cake: a grim but highly atmospheric video about ancient pagan sacrifice in all its corpse-painted and ritualistic black metal splendor.
And just as the world will rise again, fresh and new after utterly cataclysmic destruction brings it to an end, so will The Vikings Begin begin anew at the Nordic Museum in Seattle in just a few weeks.