It is possible to view ancient Viking ships in person in museums like the Viking Ship Museum in Olso, Norway. Their amazing preservation after being buried for centuries helps us to understand their construction and design. Although I personally have not visited these ships, many others have and there are many resources online for research which I have used in my work.
In Fall 2016, I was about halfway through grad school and I was working on a body of work based on the forms of traditional ships, I came across an amazing video showing the construction of a modern version of a Viking longship. The Draken Harald Hårfagre was designed using a combination of designs using artifacts in museums along with the shipbuilding traditions of Scandinavia, this ship was built from May 2010 – Dec 2011 to sail the seas in the wake of its forebears.
Naturally I was mesmerized. I had been studying these lapstrake construction
techniques and working to translate them to jewelry using computer aided design (CAD). But the biggest surprise of all was that I had found out this ship had just crossed the Atlantic in Summer 2016 cruised through the Great Lakes and was docked on the Hudson River giving tours the day I found out about it. They were headed to New York City, so I made plans to check it out when they did.
My visit on board this ship was the inspirational boost I needed to finish my thesis work. From New York City, the ship headed to Mystic Seaport where they have been docked until earlier this Summer. Now they are embarking on an East Coast Tour with a planned stop in Philadelphia over Labor Day week. You’ll know where to find me on Labor Day.
Check out the YouTube Channel for the Draken Harald Hårfagre and their website for more information about their 2018 Tour.