The Vikings are set to dominate the Isle of Man in 2016 with exhibitions hosted by Manx National Heritage, the organisation responsible for protecting and promoting the Isle of Man’s heritage and culture.
The exhibitions form part of an extensive programme of events and activities for 2016 including a number of new exhibitions; three Viking themed shows; updated displays; lectures and family fun days. Visitors to Manx National Heritage sites will also be able to see some of the ongoing conservation and improvement works when the attractions re-open in February and March 2016.
The first Viking exhibition, ‘Heroes’, which opened in December 2015 at the Manx Museum and runs to March 2016, narrates the personal histories of some of the legendary names in the Viking world including Godred Croven, also known as King Orry, one of the most powerful Viking kings of Man and the Isles, as well as other legendary characters such as Eric Bloodaxe and Harald Bluetooth. The exhibition is hosted in conjunction with York Archaeological Trust.
The second Viking themed exhibition, entitled ‘Valhalla: In Search of the Viking Dead’, runs at the House of Manannan in Peel from October 2016 and explores how the Vikings commemorated and celebrated their dead using pagan boat burials, grave goods and ornately carved headstones.
Vikings are also the theme behind Danish artist Susanne Thea’s exhibition of prints, entitled ‘They came from the Deep Blue Sea’ which opens on 6th February 2016 until 10th April 2016 at the House of Manannan. The prints are themed around the Battle of Clontarf in Ireland which took place in AD 1014, when thousands of Vikings were killed and the Irish lost a king, murdered by the leader of the Manx Vikings. The battle is described in many early manuscripts and sagas and it is these tales that provide the inspiration for Susanne’s prints.
‘They came from the Deep Blue Sea’ will be followed by the arrival of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s touring exhibition ‘Hope in the Great War’, which opens in April 2016. The exhibition celebrates timeless courage during the First World War, telling the wartime story of six heroic RNLI rescues, with family friendly, interactive displays. It offers the opportunity to see the First World War through the eyes of those living on the coast of the UK and Ireland and honour the courage of RNLI rescuers and survivors. Visitors will discover the effects of war on Manx RNLI crews, and how the people of the Isle of Man incredibly managed to crew and maintain six RNLI lifeboat stations in the midst of the war zone that was the Irish Sea.
Images by Manx born photographer Chris Killip will be the main focus of an exhibition opening at the Manx Museum from May 2016 to July 2016. Chris Killip is a distinguished photographer, well known for his gritty black and white images of people and places. He is the recipient of numerous international awards, has exhibited all over the world, written extensively and appeared on both radio and television.
From August 2016 to October 2016, the Manx Museum will feature a major exhibition by internationally renowned artist Roger Dean. Born in England, Roger Dean is best known for his work on fantasy landscapes for posters and album covers for musicians, which he began painting in the late 1960s. His work has sold more than sixty million copies worldwide and has inspired generations of young men and women who have become professional designers and artists.
Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage, said:
“2016 will see some really special exhibitions in Peel and Douglas, with something for everyone. Working with partners allows us to put on high quality shows on very different themes which all add to our understanding of Manx culture throughout the ages.
Alongside the special shows we are continuing our programme of upgrading and refreshing the displays and facilities at our sites so that people can see something new when they visit. By doing all of this we hope that we can please our local community just as much as those who visit the island on holiday.”
In addition to the programme of exhibitions, a variety of family friendly events are planned, starting with the now annual ‘Egg Rolling’ at Cregneash on Easter Monday, 28 March 2016. Other popular events include the annual Hop tu Naa celebration at Cregneash on 30 October 2016 and Heritage Open Days which take place island-wide between 30 September 2016 and 9 October 2016.
“Much of what we do involves the conservation and preservation of the buildings, sites and collections in our care. Some of this is highly visible – such as the famous clock at Castle Rushen which has been keeping time for the local community in Castletown for centuries. Conservation of the yacht Peggy is also high profile and we’ll be giving people the opportunity to help with this scheme during the year. This type of specialised work often goes unseen by our visitors but we’ll be giving lots of unique opportunities to see and hear about it in our events programme and in our social media.”
Spring 2016 will also see the return of the skeleton of the giant deer, a familiar object for many visitors to the Manx Museum. The skeleton is currently in MNH’s conservation studio undergoing some much needed cleaning and conservation treatment and will shortly be returned to the newly refurbished Geology Gallery at the Manx Museum. The area previously occupied by the deer will be transformed into a giant cabinet of curiosities showcasing a myriad of collections representing 10,000 years of human history on the Isle of Man. The cabinet will offer a visual introduction to the main galleries at the Manx Museum, stimulating curiosity and inviting visitors to explore the rest of the national collections.
Seasonal heritage sites will begin opening from February 2016, when Rushen Abbey and Castle Rushen will be the first seasonal Manx National Heritage sites to open. Both will re-open at weekends from 6 February 2016 to 6 November. All other seasonal heritage sites will open from 25 March 2016 to 30 October 2016, including the newly refurbished Nautical Museum. The Manx Museum in Douglas and House of Manannan in Peel remain open all year round.
The programme of exhibitions, events and conservation work is open to corporate sponsorship and individual support. For further details, contact Lynsey Clague at Manx National Heritage, email: Lynsey.firstname.lastname@example.org . Tel: 01624 648032.