Friends of the Viking Ship

Friends of the Viking Ship Open Days with docent-led tours of the ship are scheduled monthly April - October.
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The "Viking", a full size replica of the famous "Gokstad", sailed from Norway to New York in 1893. She then proceeded via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and Great Lakes to Chicago for the World's Coumbian Exposition of 1893

December 6, 1893"Viking ship sunk?!" Not only does this news from Reynoldsville, PA, incorrectly report the sinking of "...
12/06/2023

December 6, 1893
"Viking ship sunk?!" Not only does this news from Reynoldsville, PA, incorrectly report the sinking of "Viking" but it also inexplicably relocates her from the Mississippi River to the Bay of Biscay, over 4000 miles away.

Of the Mississippi river, Captain Andersen would later say, “We had traveled 1,135 miles from St Louis [to New Orleans],...
12/04/2023

Of the Mississippi river, Captain Andersen would later say, “We had traveled 1,135 miles from St Louis [to New Orleans], which is the distance on a straight line of 630 miles. The difference is due to the strong bendings in all directions. In some places the turns are so great that one would sail 15 miles in the opposite direction from the course we had just navigated.”

December 2, 1893Upon arriving in Cairo the day before, "Viking" and crew were met with a great reception.
12/02/2023

December 2, 1893
Upon arriving in Cairo the day before, "Viking" and crew were met with a great reception.

12/02/2023
December 1, 1893"Viking" arrives in Cairo, the southernmost city in the state of Illinois.
12/01/2023

December 1, 1893
"Viking" arrives in Cairo, the southernmost city in the state of Illinois.

November 28, 1857On this date, "Viking's" captain, Hans Peter Magnus Andersen (1857-1938) was born in Larvik, Vestfold, ...
11/28/2023

November 28, 1857
On this date, "Viking's" captain, Hans Peter Magnus Andersen (1857-1938) was born in Larvik, Vestfold, Norway. He went to sea in 1872 and became a captain in 1880. Also a journalist, he founded the maritime journal "Norsk Sjøfartstidende" in 1889 and served as its first editor. His enjoyment of writing was also reflected in several books he later wrote of his experiences.

After the voyage of "Viking," Captain Andersen returned to Norway and was appointed by Parliament as the first Director General of the Norwegian Maritime Directorate from 1903 to 1911. From 1913 to 1927 he served as Oslo's Muster Chief, where he advocated new and far-reaching ideas for seafaring and seafarer's welfare, reflecting his life-long commitment to improving the lives of active and retired seamen.

To honor his lifetime of accomplishments, he was awarded the King's Medal of Merit, and in 1928 was appointed Knight, 1st Class, of the Order of St. Olav.

Today is  !Friends of the Viking Ship invites you to support our preservation of the first replica Viking ship that sail...
11/28/2023

Today is !

Friends of the Viking Ship invites you to support our preservation of the first replica Viking ship that sailed from Norway to the USA 130 years ago for the World's Columbian Exposition.

We are desperately in need of funds to enable moving "Viking" to a permanent, climate-controlled location, where she will be finally free of the dangers from weather and vandals. Just click the Donate button to make a tax-deductible contribution. Any amount is appreciated--thank you for your support!

November 27, 1893"Viking" and crew leave St. Louis, to make their way down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Of Captain An...
11/27/2023

November 27, 1893
"Viking" and crew leave St. Louis, to make their way down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Of Captain Andersen's plans for traveling to New Orleans, author F.L. Watkins writes in his book "By Whale Road to the World's Fair": "During the stay in St. Louis, he purchased a number of charts, and attempted to navigate his way to New Orleans without the use of a pilot. However, he found the river too crooked and eventually engaged a tug."

"Viking" Facts & Figures: Rivets are round-headed iron fasteners which are hammered into a square washer, called a clinc...
11/26/2023

"Viking" Facts & Figures: Rivets are round-headed iron fasteners which are hammered into a square washer, called a clinch-plate or rove, to fasten the strakes together. The rivet does not grip the wood like a screw or nail does, it pinches the wood between the head and the washer via the shaft of the rivet. Only on a small part of the ship, close to the stem and stern, are the clinch plates on the outside, as there was not room for using the hammer on the inside.

Unfortunately for “Viking,” her exposure to the elements over the last 130 years has meant that rust has formed on her rivets, causing overall instability. If they would pop--due to extreme oxidization--the end result would be a pile of Norwegian lumber on the floor of the shelter!

Until we can get her into a climate-controlled location, our only viable recourse--after consultation with several experts--has been to treat the wood with a special mixture of linseed oil, pine tar and turpentine in the hope of limiting moisture pe*******on and coating the shafts of the rivets to slow the rusting. Once we find her a permanent home with humidity control, we will pursue other measures to further stabilize her condition.

November 25, 1873On this date, crew member Jens Nicolaisen Bing (1873-1951) was born in Christiania, Norway. He became a...
11/25/2023

November 25, 1873
On this date, crew member Jens Nicolaisen Bing (1873-1951) was born in Christiania, Norway. He became a sailor right after his confirmation at 15 and was the youngest sailor on board "Viking." In addition to his voyage to America, he would also make frequent trips to and from Australia, and became a captain in 1899. He returned to Norway in 1915 and began investing in shipping companies. In 1936, he went into partnership with Olaf Pedersen and formed "AS Bing & Pedersen Shipowners." He later retired in the city of his birth.

On this Thanksgiving day, Friends of the Viking Ship would like to say a special "thank you!" to all of our members, don...
11/23/2023

On this Thanksgiving day, Friends of the Viking Ship would like to say a special "thank you!" to all of our members, donors and supporters who are working with us to achieve our mission to find "Viking" a permanent home in a climate-controlled museum.
Whether your gifts are in time, money, or just enthusiasm for our cause, we appreciate all that you do for us!

One week from today is  . Giving Tuesday is a call to action to create a global day of giving that brings diverse organi...
11/21/2023

One week from today is . Giving Tuesday is a call to action to create a global day of giving that brings diverse organizations around the world together to give back. Mark your calendar and please consider giving to Friends of the Viking Ship so that we can finally find her the permanent and safe home she deserves!

November 21, 1893The Quincy Morning Whig reports that the Illinois River was so low that even with her shallow draft of ...
11/21/2023

November 21, 1893
The Quincy Morning Whig reports that the Illinois River was so low that even with her shallow draft of three and one-half feet, "Viking" had to be dragged over the bottom. Thankfully, no damage to the keel was incurred. Pilots also report the Mississippi being very low, contributing to the decision not to make the trip up to St. Paul.

The fear of being frozen in the Mississippi due to the lateness of the season leads to the Captain's decision not to tra...
11/19/2023

The fear of being frozen in the Mississippi due to the lateness of the season leads to the Captain's decision not to travel up river to visit St Paul. A local writer reacts accordingly. A tad bitter, don't you think? 😏

November 19, 1893Just before reaching St. Louis the day before, Captain Andersen took an involuntary dip in the Mississi...
11/19/2023

November 19, 1893
Just before reaching St. Louis the day before, Captain Andersen took an involuntary dip in the Mississippi, no doubt a chilling experience in mid-November!🥶

The restoration of"Viking's" head and tail gets a write up in the latest issue of the "Norwegian American"
11/18/2023

The restoration of"Viking's" head and tail gets a write up in the latest issue of the "Norwegian American"

"Freya," the Viking ship dragon head and tail, has been restored and is now on display at the Geneva History Museum in Illinois.

https://ow.ly/ZZoM50Q8283

"Viking" on the Mississippi River
11/18/2023

"Viking" on the Mississippi River

November 18, 1893"Viking" arrives in St. Louis, where she will remain until the 27th. While in the city, Captain Anderse...
11/18/2023

November 18, 1893
"Viking" arrives in St. Louis, where she will remain until the 27th. While in the city, Captain Andersen purchases several navigational charts as he prepares to sail down the rest of the Mississippi to New Orleans.

11/17/2023

The now common term wasn't used to describe medieval Scandinavians until the 19th century.

11/16/2023

The identification of a pre-Viking ship burial unearthed in Norway is helping rewrite history.

In traveling the Illinois River, Captain Andersen found the water level to be so low that it was difficult to navigate w...
11/16/2023

In traveling the Illinois River, Captain Andersen found the water level to be so low that it was difficult to navigate without running aground. He would later recall: "A few times 'Viking' was so solidly mired down that we had to hire a large sternwheeler to assist us...On several occasions we had to be je**ed out of the stubborn clay bank. Finally, after the steamer had led us down river to deeper water, we reached the Mississippi River."

We all knew this of course but it is great to see that science is finally catching up! 😉
11/16/2023

We all knew this of course but it is great to see that science is finally catching up! 😉

The trees told us so.

November 14, 1893Over in Norway, Captain Andersen's newspaper, "Norges Sjøfartstidende," prints a schedule of when "Viki...
11/14/2023

November 14, 1893
Over in Norway, Captain Andersen's newspaper, "Norges Sjøfartstidende," prints a schedule of when "Viking" would pass each of the towns and cities along the I&M Canal, the Illinois River, and the Mississippi River. At this point, they were still planning a trip up the Mississippi first to the Twin Cities before traveling back down to New Orleans.

"Viking" Facts & Figures: The hull of "Viking" was built up to the waterline and then the 19 oak ribs were placed inside...
11/12/2023

"Viking" Facts & Figures: The hull of "Viking" was built up to the waterline and then the 19 oak ribs were placed inside, approximately 3 feet apart. The ship’s ribs go across the lower planks to strengthen them, in the same way that our ribs go across our chest. These ribs, with the keel, provide the foundation of the ship. A ship builder would look for a tree branch that was just the right shape needed for a rib.

November 11, 1893Finally out of the I & M Canal, "Viking" is on the Illinois River (and no doubt the river is indeed fra...
11/11/2023

November 11, 1893
Finally out of the I & M Canal, "Viking" is on the Illinois River (and no doubt the river is indeed fragrant by comparison if we are to believe Captain Andersen's earlier observations about the canal).

An artist's depiction of "Viking" passing through one of the aqueducts of the I&M Canal.
11/10/2023

An artist's depiction of "Viking" passing through one of the aqueducts of the I&M Canal.

Next Tuesday, November 14th, FOVS Vice President Dave Nordin will be presenting the topic of winter Viking traditions at...
11/09/2023

Next Tuesday, November 14th, FOVS Vice President Dave Nordin will be presenting the topic of winter Viking traditions at the Geneva History Museum!

Registration: $5/Person, Free for Museum Members

Kick-off your holiday season with a talk on winter Viking traditions. Presented by Dave Nordin, Vice-President of the Friends of the Viking Ship. New this year, all Geneva History Museum members may register for free and will also have the ability to view the recorded program on our Members’ Only ...

Of his experience traveling the I&M Canal in November of 1893, Captain Magnus Andersen would record the following unflat...
11/09/2023

Of his experience traveling the I&M Canal in November of 1893, Captain Magnus Andersen would record the following unflattering observation: "The canal, which was in very bad condition, had 16 sluice gates, all just large enough to let the 'Viking' pass, with only inches to spare. The water was as thick as mush and smelled of sewage."

November 7, 1920The Chicago Tribune reports on the dedication ceremony of "Viking" in Lincoln Park. "Viking" had been mo...
11/07/2023

November 7, 1920
The Chicago Tribune reports on the dedication ceremony of "Viking" in Lincoln Park. "Viking" had been moved from Jackson Park, repaired, and placed under a shelter in Lincoln Park. The restored ship was then presented to the state of Illinois by the Federation of Norwegian Women’s Societies. Later that night, a gala banquet was held at the Chicago Norske Klub.

Over the many years in Lincoln Park, "Viking" suffered vandalism and much neglect. Thankfully, she was rescued from the ...
11/06/2023

Over the many years in Lincoln Park, "Viking" suffered vandalism and much neglect. Thankfully, she was rescued from the desolation and is now in a better place. She won't be safe though until we build her a permanent home with climate control and security.

November 6, 1920On this date, "Viking" was officially welcomed at her new location in Lincoln Park (where she would rema...
11/06/2023

November 6, 1920
On this date, "Viking" was officially welcomed at her new location in Lincoln Park (where she would remain for 74 long, long years).

"Viking" Facts & Figures: Between the strakes of “Viking” is a cord of tar-soaked wool, placed between the strakes befor...
11/05/2023

"Viking" Facts & Figures: Between the strakes of “Viking” is a cord of tar-soaked wool, placed between the strakes before they were riveted together, to help keep the ship watertight. To further keep the wet out and the dry in, the Vikings covered the outside of their ships with a sticky, waterproof paste called pitch, made from pine resin.

November 4, 1893The Trib reports on "Viking's" first stop after leaving Chicago at Joliet, IL,, welcomed by a great crow...
11/04/2023

November 4, 1893
The Trib reports on "Viking's" first stop after leaving Chicago at Joliet, IL,, welcomed by a great crowd!

November 3, 1893The NY Sun reports on "Viking's" departure from Chicago for "another long journey." Only two of the orig...
11/03/2023

November 3, 1893
The NY Sun reports on "Viking's" departure from Chicago for "another long journey." Only two of the original crew accompany her: Captain Andersen and Second Mate Christen Christensen.

After leaving Jackson Park, "Viking" traveled up the Chicago River and entered the Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal, the ...
11/01/2023

After leaving Jackson Park, "Viking" traveled up the Chicago River and entered the Illinois & Michigan (I&M) Canal, the start of her journey to the Mississippi River and beyond.

As many of you may know, the end of the 1893 World's Fair was clouded by a very dark event--the assassination of the may...
10/31/2023

As many of you may know, the end of the 1893 World's Fair was clouded by a very dark event--the assassination of the mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrison, just a few days before. As reported in the Inter Ocean, "the people were in no mood for festivity and frolic. A pall rested upon them all. The World’s Fair Mayor of Chicago had been ruthlessly slain by a dastardly assassin, and the black shadow of that calamity gave a somber hue to everything expositional."

The Last Day of the Fair   Up  Next–> Inter Ocean, October 31, 1893 Editorial THE LAST DAY OF THE FAIR. Yesterday was the last day of The Fair. Visitors can go there to-day and view its wonders and beauties, but the formal closing was Oct. 30. It was to have been the merriest, gladdest, and mo...

October 31, 1893The Chicago Tribune takes note as the World's Fair of 1893 comes to a close. The final tally of total at...
10/31/2023

October 31, 1893
The Chicago Tribune takes note as the World's Fair of 1893 comes to a close. The final tally of total attendance at the Fair stands at over 27.5 million people (to better understand how significant that was, the population of the US at that time was only about 63 million).
In the afternoon of the 31st, "Viking" will sail away from Jackson Park to begin her next adventure..

"Viking" in the White City
10/29/2023

"Viking" in the White City

October 28, 1893The World's Fair is ending. "Viking" has been offered to the Smithsonian National Museum, but will she b...
10/28/2023

October 28, 1893
The World's Fair is ending. "Viking" has been offered to the Smithsonian National Museum, but will she be accepted? The costs to move her there would be daunting.

While speaking before the National Geographic Society, Captain Magnus Andersen recounted his voyage across the Atlantic ...
10/25/2023

While speaking before the National Geographic Society, Captain Magnus Andersen recounted his voyage across the Atlantic on "Viking": "We were out six weeks altogether, forty-four days from Bergen to New London...my opinion is that really not fifty per cent of our seafaring class use as safe vessels as the 'Viking.' I would not hesitate to take that ship across the Atlantic any time of the year when I have a cover for it....For eight or nine days the thermometer was down to zero, but we were well dressed and fed and we were not troubled."

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Geneva, IL
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Our Story

"Viking," the first replica Viking ship ever built, sailed from Norway to New York in 1893. She then proceeded via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and Great Lakes to Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition. An exact, full-sized replica of the famous Gokstad ship, “Viking” is the mother of all modern day Viking ships.

The story of her crossing the North Atlantic is little known these days, but it is a compelling tale of great courage—courage to prove the capability of ancient Viking vessels. “Viking” is an important link to the history of ship building, world trade, and exploration. She was the first to demonstrate that the voyage of Leif Erikson to America was indeed possible, nearly seven decades before archaeological evidenced proved that to be true. Now declared one of the 10 most endangered landmarks in Illinois, this important, irreplaceable piece of our nation's and region's history must be preserved.

The purpose of “Friends of the Viking Ship, N.F.P.” (FOVS) is to facilitate the preservation of the 1893 Viking Ship as an important artifact from the Columbian Exposition, and to advocate its public display in a permanent museum setting with adequate security and climate control. To accomplish this goal, FOVS will raise funds for its protection and preservation, and for interpretation of its history. FOVS will also seek appropriate partners who share our mission of securing an optimal long-term home.


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