A Little Time and a Keyboard: Visiting a Viking Ship in Geneva, IL

Visiting a Viking Ship in Geneva, IL

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Visiting the Viking Ship in Geneva, IL

A Viking ship rests in a simple shelter in Good Templar Park in Geneva, Illinois. Last weekend, we went to explore the Viking ship and learn a little about how it found itself in the Chicago suburbs.

Simple canopy for the Viking ship in Geneva, IL
Simple canopy for the Viking ship

We began exploring by reading the placards throughout the exhibit. Overall, I found them to be informative and well done.

The history and construction of Viking.

We learned that the Viking ship is the replica of the Norwegian Viking ship the Gokstad which is considered the most beautiful Viking ship discovered. The Gokstad was originally excavated in 1880. The Viking was constructed in Norway in 1892-1893 for Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The ship sailed to Chicago from Norway via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Incredible!

Model depiction of Viking Ship Viking in Geneva, Illinois
Model of Viking.
After the Exposition, the Viking sailed down the Mississippi to New Orleans. When she returned, she was drydocked by the Field Museum. Through the years she was moved to several locations and ultimately fell into severe disrepair.

In 1994, the American Scandinavian Council obtained custody of the ship and moved Viking to West Chicago, IL. Eventually, the ship was moved to Geneva. The Council no longer exists and now the Friends of the Viking Ship repair and maintain the ship. The next goal is to move it to a more permanent, more secure location in order to preserve it.

Inside of the Viking ship from the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago
Take a peek inside!
Visiting is quite interesting and I loved being able to climb the ramp to see the inside of the boat. The ship is open one weekend day a month and also during special events. We toured ourselves but there are guides to provide more context. There also was a video and an interesting gift area.

Replica of Viking chainmaille at Midsommar festival in Geneva, IL
Replica of Viking chainmaille at Midsommar festival 

We visited the Viking during the Midsommar Festival which I highly recommend. The Midsommar Festival included Viking interpreters, a maypole,, Swedish food, Swedish vendors and so much more. I particularly enjoyed checking out the Viking artifacts and replicas.

Viking is truly an interesting part of our heritage here in the Chicago suburbs. I highly recommend visiting and supporting this artifact so that we can enjoy it for many, many years to come. It is one of the largest artifacts left from the World's Columbian Exposition is a really interesting tie to that piece of history.Visiting Viking is a unique excursion, so definitely check the schedule to see when you can visit!

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Visiting the Viking Ship from the World's Columbian Exhibition in Geneva, IL

1 comment

  1. This looks so cool! Hoping we get to see it before the summer's end.