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Viking Ship

VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea

See over 140 authentic Viking artifacts, including a full-size replica of a Viking boat!
Opens Sat., Feb. 11.
In Pittsburgh for a limited time.
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE!

Enter the unique and fascinating world of The Vikings Age (c. 8th-11th centuries). It was a time of colonization, conquest, and plunder, but also a period when towns with trades, specialized crafts, professions, and communication networks were established. For centuries the Christian Church had been dominant on mainland Europe. Now it also displaced the old pagan faith of Scandinavia. The small, fragmented kingdoms comprising Scandinavia were gathered in three larger kingdoms – Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. This centralization of power led to major changes in society and an entirely new social structure. This Vikings exhibition in Pittsburgh is only here for a limited time. 

Displayed in:

PPG Science Pavilion

Sponsored by:
Eat'n Park

This exhibition has been produced in partnership by The National Museum of Denmark, MuseumsPartner in Austria, and Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex of Québec, with the collaboration of Ubisoft Montréal.

Nationalmuseet National Museum of Denmark
MP logo

Introduction

Viking armor

See a Viking Boat and Create Your Own

Joanna is a full-sized reconstruction of a Viking boat from Gokstad, an excavation site in Norway where a large burial mound of a chieftain from the Viking Age with his large ship and several smaller boats were buried in 895. The boat is 22’ long with 14’ tall sail.

Craft your own ship using a touch screen in this Vikings exhibition. Collect necessary resources and learn, among other things, how many trees had to be cut, the quantity of iron needed for thousands of ship rivets, and the amount of flax or wool that was used for the sail.

Learn About Viking Currency

Vikings used silver as their main currency. Goods were paid for in silver by weight.

Hold a Viking Sword

  • Pick up an accurate replica of a Viking Age sword and experience the weight and balance between sword handle and sword blade.
  • Discover the level of difficulty and skill it takes to handle a sword.

Roleplay as a Viking

  • Try on the traditional garb of Viking men and women within the exhibition.
  • Play a Vikings game and learn how it is based on military strategy.
  • Interact with a Norsemen through augmented reality. 

Uncover Denmark’s Birth Certificate

The Jelling Stone, raised in memory of King Harald’s parents, Gorm and Thyra, marked the unification Denmark and made the Danes Christian. The large stone at Jelling is often called Denmark’s birth certificate.

Mythbusters!

Who were the Vikings? Picture in your head an image of a Viking. If you imagined a man in a horned helmet ready to pillage a city, you are accustomed to popular representations of Vikings, which are historically incorrect and overgeneralized. In VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea, you gain a fuller image of Vikings as traders, settlers, explorers, and highly qualified craftsmen, architects, and engineers.

A Wind Age – Ships, Sails, and Sea

Viking ship

Ships, Sails, and Sea

Ships were vital to the Vikings of Scandinavia, and the most important form of transportation, since they were surrounded by long coastlines, inland lakes, and many waterways. Archaeological finds show that the Vikings built a range of different kinds of vessels: large, impressive longships, sea-faring cargo vessels, and smaller boats for fishing and transport in calmer waters.

The Vikings relied on their senses and knowledge of nature to find their way. In Vikings history, there are no accounts of the Norsemen using navigational equipment.

They traded amber, salt, honey and wax, furs, and slaves against payment in silver.

Connecting Continents – Traders and Merchants

Viking items

Traders and Merchants

The Royal power was consolidated and strengthened during the Viking Age, and the economic conditions increased. Greater and more sophisticated specialization in trade and production took place. Towns became centers of political, economic, and social organization with trade and crafts as the central basis. Trading goods bear witnesses of both a substantial local demand and to the fact that all these towns were hubs for long-distance trade.

They traded amber, salt, honey and wax, furs, and slaves against payment in silver.

With the Sword in the Hand – Warriors

Viking warrior

Warriors

Warriors played an important role during the Viking Age. They were recruited when young, then trained. If they were skilled enough, they became members of the king’s personal army. Viking arms consisted of shields, spears, bows, and arrows, axes, swords, chain mail, and helmets. Little chain mail and few helmets have been found. The same is true of longbows, which were the Viking’s only long-range weapon. There is no archaeologic evidence which can prove that Vikings wore horned or winged helmets in combat.

Viking Way of Life

Viking clothes

Viking Way of Life

Honor and family relationships played an important role in Viking society. Most people lived in villages, with agriculture forming the basis for existence. Different types of dwellings included longhouses, pit houses, town houses, smaller family houses, and great, royal halls. Men and women of the Viking Age dressed according to their sex and income. Men wore tunics and trousers, and women wore a shift with a dress on top.

The Vikings were skilled craftsmen and artists. The discovery of gaming pieces reveals that the Vikings played board games. The Vikings also enjoyed athletics and other physical pastimes. Poems, stories, and songs were passed on by word of mouth, and musical instruments from the Viking Age have also been found.

Power of Kings

Structure of Society

The Viking society was clearly divided into social classes. At the top the King was surrounded by an aristocratic elite. The role of each person in society depended strongly on whether you were free or unfree, rich, or poor, man or woman.

The free people constituted the majority of the community – they had the right to carry weapons and had the right to be heard at the annual assemblies, called “The Thing.” They were farmers, landowners, craftsmen, hunters, professional warriors, and merchants. The unfree were brooch/slaves who had no rights to decide over their own lives. They were either bought or brought back from raids around Europe.

Viking Mind – Gods and Beliefs

Jelling Stone

Gods and Beliefs

Most Scandinavians were pagan at the beginning of The Viking Age and worshipped many gods and goddesses. The Vikings believed the pagan gods had great influence on their everyday life and made sacrifices to remain on good terms with the gods. Odin, Thor, and Frey were the major Norse deities.

The transition from paganism to Christianity was slow, and archaeological finds reveal that both religions co-existed. Archaeologists gained insight and a unique picture of Viking life, as well as valuable information about the beliefs and traditions of the Vikings from grave sites. With the belief of an afterlife, Vikings buried their dead with goods and belongings to take with them to the next world. A change in burial customs, such as steady decline in the number of grave gifts for the dead occurred once Christianity was introduced.

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Visitor FAQ

How much do tickets cost?

Advance purchase of timed-tickets is recommended.

$11.50 for all Members

Nonmember Adult: $20
Nonmember Senior (65+): $18
Nonmember Children (3–12 years): $16

VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea +
Carnegie Science Center General Admission
Save up to $7.50!

Nonmember Adult: $37.50
Nonmember Senior (65+): $32.50
Nonmember Children (3–12): $27.50

Do groups receive discounts?

  • Yes! Carnegie Science Center is now accepting group reservations for VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea. Groups of 15 or more people receive a discount on VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea when they book their visit at least two weeks in advance. Call 412.237.3400 to book a group visit today. 
  • VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea tickets:
    • Group (15+) – $12
  • VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea + Carnegie Science Center General Admission:
    • Weekday group – $22
    • Weekend group – $25

What age is this exhibition appropriate for?

  • We encourage you to bring your children, however, every child is different. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any of our team members.

How long does it take to tour the exhibition?

  • We recommend you allot 60–90 minutes to tour the full exhibition.

Are there educational materials that accompany the exhibition?

May we take photos of VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea?

  • Yes, amateur photography is permitted in the exhibition. Professional photography is not permitted. Members of the news media must contact Sarah Reichle at reichles@carnegiesciencecenter.org to arrange for a photography shoot.

When is this exhibition on display?

  • Sat., Feb. 11–Mon., Sept. 4, 2023

VIKINGS: Warriors of the North Sea is only in Pittsburgh for a limited time.

NOTICE FOR ALL BUYERS – By attending an in-person event at any of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, you and any guests agree to voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold any presenting entities, artists, and the venue; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.