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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Viking" across the Atlantic

Mirrored from Full Fathom Five:

The Library recently acquired a lovely little book, "Viking" across the Atlantic : and a short summary of the Norwegian Vikings and Vikingships by Alfred A. Holm (Chicago : John Anderson Pub. Co., 1893), which is also available online. Assistant Curator Ted Miles sends in this report about the replica vessel, "Viking:"

I was recently asked what is the oldest replica in the world? This is not the time to debate the terms. Is it better to call it a replica, a reproduction or whatever? We can do that another day. You might want to read my article on "Historic Reproductions: An Account of Past Efforts," in Sea History #17 for Summer 1980 pages 26-27. The illustrations are from my post card collection. In the same issue is a list of existing vessels on pages 29-31.

But most people use the word replica to talk about long gone historic craft of one sort or another. The World's Fairs of the late 19th century certainly produced a number of them. The Columbian Expostion of 1893 had replicas of the three vessels used by Christopher Columbus voyage of 1492. And just so he did not get all the glory; a group of people in Norway built a replica of the famous Gokstad burial ship which had been excavated in 1880 and sailed it across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to Chicago.

Many years ago, I was visiting Lincoln Park in Chicago, Illinois and saw the ship on display. It has been given a shelter to protect it from the harsh winter weather. The other day, I looked it up on the Internet and find that the Friends of the Viking Ship can be found at Now I see that the ship has been moved to Geneva, Illinois and placed under a different shelter. Tours of the display site are available in the summer.

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