A crane was needed to deliver one of the main pieces of a new exhibit at the Field Museum.
The Krampmacken — a replica Viking-age ship — was lifted and rolled through the museum’s south doors Thursday morning.
The 27-foot-long ship is one of the main pieces in the museum’s upcoming Vikings exhibition, opening Feb. 27. At 2,800 pounds, the pine and iron ship is a 1980s reconstruction of a Viking ship found in an archaeological dig.
“Craning was a matter of necessity,” said Susan Neill, the exhibition’s project manager. “The only entrance [the ship] fit through was the south doors [and] the only way to safely move it was with a crane.”
To bring the ship into the facility, the south doors and pedestrian tent of the museum were removed. Once inside, the ship, which stands 21 feet with its mast and sail, was dollied to the area next to the hall where the exhibition will be placed.
A plastic isolation chamber was built around the Krampmacken after its placement next to the hall. It will remain there for the next 11 days while a conservation worker in the museum examines it to make sure the wood is pest-free.
While museum objects are usually kept in controlled, in-door environments, the Kampmacken’s last display was outdoors in British Columbia, Neill said.
The Krampmacken and nearly 500 other objects arrived to the museum this week and are part of a traveling exhibition put together by the Swedish History Museum in partnership with Austria’s MuseumsPartner.
The artifacts, most of which date between 750 – 1100, were in Scotland and Canada before being brought to Chicago — the only U.S. city that has hosted the exhibition.
“The replica allows us to visualize how Vikings would have lived and maintained trade relationships,” Neill said of the ship, which would have seated 10-11 people. “There was a great enthusiasm for it because Viking culture is not something we usually collect.”
Some of the objects in display also are replicas of originals that are too old and fragile to make the trip.
The museum has been planning this exhibition for about a year, Neill said. When the exhibit opens, the objects and the ship will be complemented with digital and interactive displays, including a sword that visitors can lift and handle, and a touchscreen display through which they can experience digging a Viking boat grave.