Roskilde – Viking Ship Museum

Situated a short walk away from the Roskilde Domkirke is the Viking Ship Museum. I would highly recommend anyone visiting Denmark to see this museum. Although quite simple and small, the ships it has on display are magnificent.

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The museum is separated into two sections. One section contains workshops and the other, a more traditional museum space. As it is winter, there isn’t much construction going on so we only walked through the workshops to visit the cafe. When I first visited the museum in 2013, however, they were partway through building a replica warship. The museum is where the ruins of the Viking ships are housed along with a few information panels and a dress-up section.

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The middle of the museum space is designed to showcase the surviving parts of the five excavated ships. These were utilized for trade, voyages, and warfare throughout the Viking era. Along the entire length of the room is a glass wall allowing visitors to look out over the sea. A very fitting design element for this museum. As for the objects, each ship has been pieced back together as best as possible and held in a black metal ship skeleton. These are rested over a bed of different coloured rocks. The display was minimalistic, but, very effective.

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In terms of thematic panels and object labels, each ship is accompanied by a small exhibition label with quick facts and a more lengthy description of its former purpose and use. The amount of text in this area was just right. Visitors are not overwhelmed by information and you could spend the majority of your time admiring the objects.

My second favourite part of the museum was the dress-up corner. I was very happy to see clothing provided not just for children, but also, adults. Sometimes we do want to have a little fun in the museum space. In this section was also a replica boat for visitors to step inside.

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Finally, the rest of the museum consisted of a variety of displays on Viking life. This section was more text-heavy. It also did not contain any objects so was a bit tiresome to walk through.

This is the first museum from Scandinavia where I feel the desire to rate the gift shop. It was a very solid gift shop. Lots of cute little Viking-related objects as well as some beautiful homewares and clothing from Denmark. A great shop to buy some souvenirs for yourself or others!

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