Entertainment & Arts

Press views: British Museum's Vikings exhibition

Viking artefacts at the British Museum Image copyright PA
Image caption A Viking helmet and jawbone are among the artefacts on display

The press give their verdict on the British Museum's latest exhibition, Vikings: Life and Legend, which opens on Thursday and runs until 22 June. It is the museum's first major exhibition on Vikings for more than 30 years.

The museum is also bringing the exhibition to cinema screens in April. Vikings Live will include a torch-lit ship burial in the museum's forecourt.

The Daily Telegraph - Mark Hudson

You'll leave this exhibition undeniably better informed about the Vikings. But that enlightenment will come as much, if not more, from the texts and audio-guide than from the exhibits. The sociology of Vikingdom is well-served but not the visual culture.

There are some baffling absences. Where is the British Museum's terrifying dragon-head boat prow? What about the V&A's casts of Norwegian church doors?

Read the full review here

The Guardian - Jonathan Jones

Vikings is the first exhibition in the British Museum's new state-of-the-art gallery. It takes advantage of this huge space to display that ship, no less.

But when you enter the show there's no excitement at all. There's no stage-setting. No gory recreation of the Lindisfarne raid, say, to get us in the mood. Instead, cases of smallish, similar objects throw visitors straight into some thorny problems of archaeology... I felt like crying. Where were the swords?

And if I was ready to bawl, what does this exhibition offer its younger visitors? It can't claim not to be for them. You can't put on an exhibition called Vikings without expecting some kids.

Read the full review here

The Times - Rachel Campbell-Johnston

This is a richly faceted and potentially deeply evocative exhibition which, complemented not by high-tech reconstructions but by an expansive and scholarly catalogue, unfurls a vivid history.

However, you need to be a detective to get the most out of this Nordic noir drama. So many pieces are missing, and not least from the symbolic heart of the show: the so-called Roskilde 6 Viking longship - the largest ever found - which was discovered 15 years ago buried on the banks of a fjord in Norway.

It has been transported, flat-pack style, to Britain for the first time, but it demands a vivid imagination to conjure the few planks of wood that remain into a gleaming vision of an invading vessel.

Read the full review here (please note there is a pay wall)

The Independent - Boyd Tonkin

At the British Museum, pride of place goes to the warship known as Roskilde 6: a giant military transport built around 1020. At 37m long and with 80 oars, the longest Viking vessel ever found was located in a fjord - already known for its many sunken ships - on the Danish island of Zealand in 1997...

Only 20% of the massive warship's timbers survive. But an elegant steel cradle - carefully assembled after the British Museum welcomed this ultimate flat-pack delivery from the National Museum of Denmark - gives a fine impression of the whole.

Read the full review here

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