SV Educational Services (previously trading as Midgard Living History) were invited to the VIP opening of the new Stone Axe, Blood Axe, Conquest Gallery at the Dock Museum in Barrow in Furness on Friday 8th Feb 2013. This new addition to the museum has been purpose built to house the Furness Viking Hoard and tell the archaeological story of the Furness Peninsula in Cumbria.
As well as the museum staff there was the mayor and other civic dignitaries, and representatives of all the companies and organisations that have contributed to the museum acquiring the hoard and building the new gallery.
SV Educational Services organised a sponsored Viking Longboat row around Derwent Water in July 2012, and raised £1170 towards the building of the Viking Gallery, in a Berlinn style replica longboat owned by Plattyplus Watersports, near Keswick in Cumbria.
Together with Herlid Vikings, the local group of The Vikings! national society, we also staged weapons displays, with a small living history encampment, for the public opening of the Viking Gallery on Saturday 9th February.
The gallery itself consists of the archaeological story of South Cumbria from neolithic times up to the Viking Age. In the centre is a replica Viking longship that children can climb on, with an inbuilt Viking runes activity. There are also mannequins of a typical Viking male and female, with costume decoration by Pixie Creations and jewellery by Asgard Crafts. Together with various artifacts from the area illustrating the local archaeology, there is a 5 minute documentary about the Furness Hoard, featuring Bjarni Thorvaldrson, and others, from SV Educational Services and the Iron Shepherds re-enactment group, and shot, produced and edited by Stuart Appley of Comely Media.
Pride of place, of course, goes to the Furness Viking Hoard, a collection of 92 silver coins, bracelets and lead weights found by a metal-detectorist at Easter in 2011. The hoard was originally buried over 1000 years ago, some time in the 950’s, but the owner never returned to collect it.
The hoard, and all of the other exhibits, can be seen for free at the museum, which is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm every week.