VIKINGS – DRAGONS OF THE NORTHERN SEAS
From April 14 to October 10, 2022
An immersive experience in the world of the Vikings, exploring an exceptional collection
Montréal, April 13, 2022 ** - The celebration of Pointe-à-Callière’s 30th anniversary continues with VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas, opening tomorrow. Exclusively, and for the first time in Québec, the exhibition showcases the **National Museum of Denmark’s magnificent Viking collection—one of the world’s finest! An exceptionally diverse selection of 650 authentic objects provides a unique and innovative look at the legendary and fascinating culture of the people we call the “Vikings.”
From origins to the end of days: the story of the Vikings told through four captivating narratives
Taking an original approach that weaves together myth and reality, the exhibition offers an in-depth immersion into the real and imaginary world of the Vikings, tracing the history of this legendary people through four great tales: origins, life, travel, and the end of days. Themes through which it addresses the lifestyle, values, and practices of early Scandinavian society; navigation and war; and the mythology and beliefs that played a predominant role in Viking daily life. The exhibition also explores Nordic heritage in today’s popular culture.
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, demonstrating their tremendous skill. The 650 objects and artefacts on display include jewelry and finery of great quality, as well as everyday tools and weaponry—authentic evidence of Viking artisan know-how. Some fifty of these objects are being presented in North America for the very first time.
“Enhanced with an original design, Pointe-à-Callière’s presentation will certainly be the most exhaustive and spectacular Viking exhibition ever presented in North America. The quality and diversity of the pieces from the National Museum of Denmark, which holds one of the most beautiful Viking collections in the world, paint an eloquent and most complete portrait of this civilization. We are delighted to offer our visitors an experience of this magnitude.” – Anne Élisabeth Thibault, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière
An immersive experience in the world of the Vikings
Following the scald Thorvald (a Scandinavian poet) on an enthralling path through the exhibition, visitors will learn about the myths that populated the Vikings’ imagination and punctuated their lives, while the objects on display speak of the people who once used them. The four tales are an invitation to travel, transporting visitors from one world to another against 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. With the tale of life, visitors will 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.
Each tale is enhanced in its own strikingly artistic setting, with a deep sense of solemnity running throughout: a Jelling stone here, a reconstruction of a Viking sailing vessel there. All of it set against an enveloping backdrop, punctuated with images from the Ubisoft Montréal game @Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, literally bringing the various tales to life.
“While the tales take your imagination on a journey, allowing it to roam, the immersion in the museum setting supports it, accurately reflecting Viking culture through the colours, sounds, and many objects that were part of Viking daily life. Ubisoft Montréal’s renewed collaboration with Pointe-à-Callière demonstrates how Montréal’s cultural savoir-faire can serve to explore history.” – Maxime Durand, World Design Director, Ubisoft Montréal
A Scandinavian presence in Canada
All along its impressive historical path, VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas offers new perspectives on Viking society and presents the most up-to-date scientific knowledge. Through a generous loan from the Canadian Museum of History and The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador, the exhibition notably features objects from the L’Anse aux Meadows site in Newfoundland, the first known evidence of a Viking presence on the continent, recently dated to the year 1021.
Forming a bridge between the past and the present, a tactile screen at the end of the exhibition examines Scandinavian cultural heritage in Canada, inviting visitors to meet Montréal communities with origins in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and to explore the festivals and events that carry on their traditions.
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.
VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas is presented by Desjardins, in collaboration with Ubisoft Montréal and through a partnership with Tourisme Montréal, Hôtel Uville, and La Presse. The Museum sincerely thanks its lenders, sponsors, and partners.
Book: VIKINGS – Dragons of the Northern Seas
“The Vikings, their very name fires the imagination. From the 8th century on, they sailed the seas, carried out devastating raids, and set out to conquer great cities, playing a key role in European history. But who were they?”
This beautifully illustrated book-magazine further extends your immersion into the fascinating world of the Vikings through the writing of experts on the subject, including historian Marc Carrier; Peter Pentz, curator at the National Museum of Denmark; and Birgitta Wallace, an archaeologist specializing in the study of the L’Anse aux Meadows site.
Published by Beaux-Arts & cie. 68 pages. Price: $ 18 + taxes.
Complementing the exhibition
A host of free activities—for young and old alike—is being held to encourage you to further your exploration of the world of the Vikings.
With the opening of the exhibition on April 14, a lecture on the role of women in Viking societies will be held at Pointe-à-Callière, at 7 pm, with Michèle M. Hayeur Smith, a specialist on Nordic cultures.
On June 21, to celebrate the summer solstice, the Museum will launch its outdoor summer program—“Summer on the Point”—with a festive event that shines a spotlight on Scandinavian traditions: Midsummer – A Celebration of the Season. Lastly, from July 10 to August 21, Family Sundays will be back, featuring workshops, games, tales, and performances relating to the exhibition, bringing Viking culture to life in a whole new way.
Always available… a visitors’ guide gives children the opportunity to explore the exhibition by testing their knowledge with entertaining little challenges.
Pointe-à-Callière: Celebrating 30 years of history at the single price of $30!
May 17, 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of Pointe-à-Callière… as well as the 380th anniversary of Montréal. Exhibitions, activities, events, lectures, a digital rally, a podcast, and a quiz are all part of the rich and diverse program celebrating this double anniversary. Plenty of opportunities to come visit or return to the birthplace of Montréal! And to add to the celebration of this 30th anniversary, individual memberships will be available at the single price of $30 throughout 2022!
About Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
Inaugurated in 1992 as part of the city’s 350th anniversary, Pointe-à-Callière is today the largest history museum in Montréal. Rising above a concentrated number of historic and archaeological sites of national significance—including the birthplace of Montréal—, the Museum has a mission to preserve its collections and further knowledge, while showcasing and fostering an appreciation for Montréal’s archaeological and historical heritage. This mission is carried out through various activities focused on conservation, research, presentation, education, and inclusion, along with community initiatives benefiting both Montrealers and visitors to the city.
Pointe-à-Callière proud partner of Ville de Montréal.
For images/visuals, please contact us.
Communications Project Manager, Pointe-à-Callière
Tel: 514 872-2687 / Cell: 514 829-0955