While the Northern Hemisphere celebrated MidSummer, the Southern Hemisphere filled with the sudden arrival of icy winter storms. I ventured to Melbourne, Victoria for a brief research trip and an amazing experience of Vikings in Australia. Not to mislead, it is not thought Vikings ventured into the Southern Ocean but an unmissable museum exhibition from Sweden had definitely made the journey.
First stop in any research-writing experience was a visit to the grand building housing the State Library of Victoria. Located in the library front gardens are many wonderful bronze statues. Two bronze statues, my favourite (and endlessly fascinating) historical and legendary figures, gracing the forecourt. The impressive statues of Joan of Arc and St George and the Dragon stand at the main entrance to the State Library.
Next stop on the research journey was the Melbourne Mvuseum and the exhibition I’d been waiting to see: Vikings: Beyond the Legend. The exhibition is part of a large travelling exhibition from the popular exhibit We Call them Vikings displayed at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. The Vikings exhibition in Melbourne featured Viking Age artefacts (750 to 1110). Th ese artefacts ranged from beautiful beaded jewellery for women with gold and silver, a stunning pendant of Thor’s hammer. Other items included the archaeological remains of Nordic swords and daggers (evidently prized for functionality, not beauty), household items, farming implements, slave shackles and religious items. The exhibition was well-planned with sections dedicated to different aspects of Viking Age life with rich detail on the household, battle, religion, entertainment, seafaring and trade. The exhibition at Melbourne Museum continues until late August.
At the end of a long, inspirational day, I felt renewed with interest and heavy with this treasure trove of research books from the exhibition and my detour via the bookstore at the State Library of Victoria.