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Visitors gets 'hands-on' Viking experience at Whitehaven museum

Visitors to the Beacon Museum, Whitehaven, can handle historical objects over coming weeks as an expansive collection of replica artefacts will be made available for the public to interact with.

To celebrate the launch of its new exhibition, Discover the Vikings, the museum team has unearthed a trove of Viking replicas created by skilled craftspeople from the area.

A second handling collection from Jorvik Viking Centre also contains a range of fascinating objects which replicate the finds at Britain’s most significant Viking excavation in Coppergate, York. The original counterparts are now on display in the Beacon Museum galleries.

Alan Gillon, Learning Officer at the Beacon Museum, said: “We do object handling as an immersive and tactile way to engage with our heritage. Lots of people learn in different ways and we find that people understand life in Viking times much better when they can hold and use objects just as their ancestors would have.

“The originals are thousands of years old and are obviously too brittle and precious to touch, but these replicas are created to be as true to life as possible.

“We have combs made out of deer antler; leather shoes made exactly as those found in an excavation in Coppergate; pottery, made to reflect a collection of 55,000 pieces of earthenware pottery found at that same site; keys and padlocks are also there just as they would have been over a millennium ago.”

The team at the Beacon Museum has its own bespoke venue in the form of a smells and all Viking tent. Armour, weaponry and clothing will also be on display to the public in the handling sessions. Visitors do not need to book these experiences, with hourly sessions between 10am and 3pm included with admission throughout the summer months.

The exhibition is open seven days a week during school holidays. For further information, visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk.

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