Friday, July 20, 2018

Vikings at Melbourne Museum

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Replica Long Ship at Vikings Exhibition

Having read earlier this year Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislanson, I was rather keen to go and look at the Vikings Exhibition at Melbourne Museum, so this week B and I braved the icy winds and ventured thence.

As exhibitions go, it was a tad disappointing, with most of the artifacts being on the small side in display cases. However, it was reasonably comprehensive, ranging from domestic articles to weapons of warfare.

There were pieces of jewellery like these necklaces…

necklace 1 

necklace 2

… and a neat drinking horn

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Incised stones

story stone

and this rather lovely little carving of a cat

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Cats were associated with the Norse Goddess Freyja who is sometimes depicted in a chariot drawn by two cats.

It was interesting to learn that Freyja is also linked to the magic brooch Brisingamen, which in turn reminded me of a children’s book I read long ago called The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner.

freya 1JPG 

It takes about an hour to get through the exhibition and of course you end up in the Museum Gift Shop where you can buy Viking themed t-shirts, beanies etc.

I insisted we go and visit Pharlap after emerging from the Vikings.

pharlap 1
I’ve been visiting Pharlap for over 50 years, as a child first seeing him in the old Melbourne Museum when it was in Latrobe Street. I still have fond memories of the old museum, with its wonderful old machines, dioramas and cases of fossils. In a way I preferred the old museum hodgepodge layout to the new one with its tidy themed exhibits.

Anyway, seeing Pharlap was a pleasant reminder that the Spring Racing season is only a few weeks away. Watching Pharlap’s last race on the Movietone News, playing in a loop at his exhibit,  I saw similarities to the turf stars of today in his style of racing, running wide to overtake the leaders and win by a couple of lengths – doing a Winx, as I remarked to B as we watched it on Wednesday.

I can’t wait for winter to be over, this year seeming colder than previous years, but I shall venture to Caulfield on Saturday week to kick off my Spring racing season, and witness the running of the last Group race of the racing year, this being the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes. Let’s hope it won’t be a repeat of last year, where the races were called off due to gale force winds.

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