VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas
April 14 to October 10, 2022
An immersive exhibition exploring an exceptional Viking collection!
They sailed the seas, carried out devastating raids, and set out to conquer great cities… Today, the mere mention of their name fires the imagination, so strong is the impression they left behind! But what do we really know about the Vikings?
They’re making landfall at Pointe-à-Callière!
Exclusively, and for the first time in Québec, the Museum is showcasing the National Museum of Denmark’s magnificent Viking collection—one of the world’s finest!
Jewelry and finery of exceptional quality, weapons, tools, and everyday items… See 650 authentic objects from the Age of the Vikings, some of which have never before been shown in North America. Taking an original approach that weaves together myth and reality, VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas offers an in-depth immersion into the real and imaginary world of this legendary people… all set against a breathtaking exhibition design punctuated with images from the Ubisoft Montréal game Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Who were the Vikings?
While the world of this early Northern people has had a great influence on today’s popular culture, there is still much to learn about their daily life, their beliefs, their culture, and their practices...
Peasants, traders, navigators, and warriors—the Vikings left their mark on the world between 793 and 1066 CE. These skilled navigators sailed the seas and earned a reputation as fearsome warriors. They were also great traders whose influence extended to the borders of Europe. Their art, inspired by nature and myths, produced several objects adorned with intertwined animals—like birds, wolves, snakes, and dragons—, creating patterns that are typical of the Viking era. Unrivalled at gold and silver work, and renowned as exceptional blacksmiths, they left behind many exemplary pieces, bearing witness to the know-how of Viking artisans.
From Yggdrasil (the Tree of Life) to Ragnarok: the Viking story told through four great tales
Follow the scald! Join Scandinavian poet Thorvald, a scald by trade, and discover who the Vikings really were through four captivating tales. With a deep sense of solemnity running throughout, the narratives will transport you from one world to the next, complemented by a visual and aural backdrop that is both immersive and poetic.
The tale of origins speaks of the profuse Viking cosmogony—nine worlds supported by the tree Yggdrasil. In the centre is Midgard, where humans reign, while the top is where the god Odin presides in his vast palace, Valhalla. In the tale of life, learn about the Vikings’ daily lives—exploring peoples’ homes, occupations, leisure pursuits, social organization, the economy, and politics. The tale of travel tells of great expeditions, conquests through wars and raids, as well as trade routes and the exploration of territories. The Vikings’ major strength was navigation, which allowed them to sail the seas and even reach the shores of North America. Lastly, the tale of end of days addresses funeral rites, beliefs relating to the beyond, and the end of the Viking era.
Vikings in Canada
Offering a unique and innovative look at the history of this people, VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas presents the most up-to-date scientific knowledge. It notably features objects from the L’Anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland, the first known evidence of a Viking presence on the American continent, recently dated to the year 1021. The exhibition also examines Nordic heritage in today’s popular culture, forming a bridge to the present by introducing you to Scandinavian communities in Montréal.
The exhibition thereby paints a most complete portrait of the people we call “the Vikings!”
This exhibition is produced by Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex, through a partnership with the National Museum of Denmark and MuseumsPartner in Austria.