The Hold

The Hold is our largest single exhibition space where we install our major exhibitions.

The current exhibitions is Viking Voyagers.

Exploring the story of why the Vikings are one of the most iconic cultures of all time, the two year exhibition reveals the secret to the Vikings? success.

Inviting visitors to take a journey into the Viking world and explore the truth behind the popular myth of the bloodthirsty raiders it offers the opportunity to get up close to rare antiquities on loan from the British Museum, National Museum of Ireland, National Museum of Denmark and Manx National Heritage.

Dr Tehmina Goskar, Exhibitions Registrar at National Maritime Museum Cornwall says: ?The Maritime Museum is now guardian to ancient artefacts from national and international collections, the like of which have never been seen in Cornwall and rarely seen outside of London and the UK?s other metropolitan centres before. Cornish audiences are remote from these blockbuster exhibitions and do not often get the opportunity to enjoy the world?s cultural heritage on their doorstep and so the loans to the Viking Voyagers exhibition take on even more significance for our local visitors.?

Treasured artefacts from the Viking world sit alongside a 14m climb aboard full scale replica cargo ship. Raiding and trading, navigation and seamanship, Viking beliefs and rituals and Cnut?s empire of the sea are all explored alongside the history of Vikings in Cornwall. The legacy of Norse men and women in popular culture, a Viking boatyard complete with an iconic 6m Viking boat and hands on weapons and tools add to the epic experience of Viking life 1000 years ago.

Dr Gareth Williams, co-curator on the exhibition and the British Museum?s world-leading Viking historian says:

“The Vikings raided Cornwall, but they also allied with the Cornish against West Saxon expansion and Cornwall was an important point on a sailing route from Scandinavia round Scotland to the Irish Sea and on to Brittany. To a great extent the history of the Vikings is the history of their ships and boats and there is nowhere better placed than National Maritime Museum Cornwall to tell this story.”

Richard Doughty, Director of National Maritime Museum Cornwall concludes:

“Viking Voyagers offers us the opportunity to display the cultural heritage of four nations in the Museum for the next two years. It is an honour and a privilege to host these rare treasures and confirms that National Maritime Museum Cornwall has truly developed over the past decade into a highly respected museum, sitting alongside industry giants.”

?This is our most ambitious exhibition to date and launches our plans to develop new partnership projects with more national and international museums in the future, bringing new connections with world cultures to Cornwall.”

Lectures, family themed make and take activities, Viking sleepovers, a Nordic caf? menu, dedicated Viking school workshops and Viking battle re-enactments on ?Thorsdays?, every Thursday of the school holidays, as well as a host of other supportive Viking themed activities add to an extraordinary journey into the Viking world.

Viking Voyagers is open from 20 March 2015 to 2 January 2017.

At the far end of The Hold gallery you can see a magnificent series of model ships suspended in a glass case, lit such that they appear to float on a black starless sea. From a Chinese war junk to a Tepuke sailing canoe, find out about different types of boats and how we use them.