Vikings in the Field

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IMG_9353Honestly, I think Monday cut in line this week. There’s no way it can really be Monday already. Again.

Quite the attention hog.

I had an unusually packed weekend, which included a trip to Chicago’s Field Museum. It’s a definite must if you are ever in town, it’s a gorgeous place packed with amazing things. Less amazing, however, was the Vikings special exhibit.

In the spirit of honesty, it was boring. Very, very boring. Though the text panels and display cases were sleek and gleaming, it was a dusty exhibit with all the exuberance of a book report, meticulously — but reluctantly — assembled. Many of the objects in the cases were copies, which I found disingenuous. I understand the use of copies and replicas if you are going to construct dioramas to put objects into context, to give them life, to connect to the people, but if you are going to encase something in glass, it better be worth encasing.

There was a time at the Field when the special exhibits were, indeed, special. They were immersive and enlightening, with information presented in engaging, novel ways that brought the subject to life.

The exhibit wasn’t helped by the reality that we really don’t have a lot of information on the people we call “Vikings,” or even the meaning of the word itself, so most of the explanations were couched in wishy-washy “probably,” or “might” language.

But what bothered me most about it was the utter lack of the humans behind the objects and replica objects in glass. There was no feel for the people themselves, and isn’t that the whole point of that type of exhibit?

So in all, I was somewhat disappointed. But it didn’t stop me from taking some pictures.

IMG_9361
IMG_9369 IMG_9376Sue, the fearsome T. Rex. Or most of her, anyway. Her real head is located above her on that balcony to the left. Due to the fossilization process, it’s too heavy to mount with the rest of her skeleton. Sue is the most complete T. Rex skeleton ever found.

IMG_9365

Much less fearsome dinosaur than Sue. And as far as I know, he didn’t eat a single person.

IMG_9398And so it began. There were a lot of signs with a lot of text. So much text that they suggested that if if you tend to read a lot in exhibits, you borrow a booklet so you could keep things moving in the exhibit.

IMG_9417I think this is real. Definitely real, though, is my reflection taking the picture. Hi everyone!

IMG_9555 IMG_9560And weapons, because Vikings! (And yes, that does make me sound like I learned nothing from the exhibit).

Now, in retrospect, looking at my photos, I think I may have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information, and a little claustrophobic with the crowds. Oh well, I can read my text photos without the woman in the striped shirt ahead of me always making sure she was exactly where I wanted to photograph.

I’d still say visit the Field regardless because it is fantastic. And check out the Vikings if you are so inclined, there is a lot to see.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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9 thoughts on “Vikings in the Field

  1. It sounds like this exhibit wasn’t very well thought out, I mean why have all that text if you would rather not have people stop and read it? That’s a shame. I also thought there was a lot more information about Vikings available. I find Vikings a really interesting subject matter though and your photos were cool.
    I’m going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC this coming weekend. It’s my first trip there so I’m pretty excited.

    • I agree, I thought that was such a strange component. Thanks on the photos 🙂 I was surprised at how much I was able to get without a flash.

      That’s so exciting! I haven’t been to New York in a long, long time, so I haven’t been to the Met in about as long, but it was a fantastic place. Huge, too, I only saw a corner of it. It should be amazing. Are you doing a whole New York weekend?

      • No overnight, just for the day. NYC is about an hour and a half from here. We are going on a bus tour. I’m not crazy about buses but driving in the city kind of freaks me out. We are also having lunch at Carmine’s.
        Have you ever made it to the Philadelphia Museum of Art?

      • That sounds like it will be a blast! And I think you are wise to avoid the driving, Chicago is a tough driving city, but New York is a league of its own.

        I’ve only been to Philadelphia very briefly to see the historical sites, so I haven’t seen it…is it amazing?

  2. You know of course I could spend a lot of time reading all your old blog posts and be thoroughly entertained. But I’ll get even further behind. So I’d do a little at a time. I’m not a fan of museums or zoos. Weird, I know. Maybe because they lack the human or humane factor like you so clearly stated. But I’m a sort of a fan of Vikings. My daughter went as one for Halloween. Her paternal grandmother was Swedish and related to Eric the Red. That’s how much I know about Vikings. it was part of my first husbands name. He wasn’t all that nice either. Figured he conquered this territory, now time to march on to other conquests. 🙂 Thanks for the virtual tour. Now I don’t have to go. 🙂

    • I also don’t like zoos, because I feel sorry for the animals. There’s a beautiful one right here in the city, Lincoln Park Zoo, but I can’t get over the irony of giraffes framed by skyscrapers.

      And please don’t feel you have to go backward, I know it’s tough on you right now to do your blog visits. I only went into your archive because you hadn’t posted anything new yet, and then I was drawn in by those incredible quilts 🙂

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