National Nordic Museum Ballard
Oct 20, 2018–April 28, 2019, Tuesdays–Sundays
Recommended by Jasmyne Keimig
The Vikings Begin grew out of findings by researchers at Gustavianum, the museum at Uppsala University—the oldest still-operating university in Sweden. Dating from the mid-seventh to late 11th century, these artifacts come from 15 grave boats found buried around the grounds of Uppsala. Seattle is the farthest west these objects have ever been. The exhibition space is moodier and more sense-stimulating than I thought possible in a museum. The gallery is completely dark, set away from the outside world, as if it takes place at a point outside of linear time. The ominous drumbeat playing throughout the space and the two giant screens depicting animal sacrifices and Viking battle scenes only added to the sensual nature of the gallery. I actively fought feeling weirdly turned on by the glittering coins, animal bloodletting, and other finery surrounding me.