Thom Bell, of eyewondermedia and BPSvideo, as part of his documentary about the research being done on the Kensington Runestone by Richard Nielsen and Professor Henrik WIlliams, from Uppsala University, visited our ship to learn about her story.

To set the stage for his documentary, Thom interviewed FOVS Board member, David Nordin, gathering insight into the history of Scandinavian-Americans during the 1800’s.

In the interview, Dave mentioned how, at that time, the printing of the Icelandic Sagas, the desire of Scandinavians to understand their Viking roots, and the spirit of Norwegian nationalism, each played a role in Viking participating in the Columbian Exhibition. While Dave described the construction of the Viking ship, its voyage, and its welcome by tens of thousands of Fair-goers, Thom’s video focused on its size, shape and beauty.

The Viking Ship from BPSVideo on Vimeo.

Friend of the Viking Ship contributes to National Geographic article

Friends of the Viking Ship board member, Ken Nordan contributed to an article for National Geographic, published in March of 2017.

In the summer of 2016, National Geographic Senior Graphics Editor Fernando Baptista visited our ship and was given an extensive and informative tour by FOVS board member Ken Nordan. Since our ship is an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, it offered Fernando, in his own words, to “feel and sense the ship” to inform his art work and the facts presented.  In its feature story on Vikings, National Geographic included a centerfold of a Viking ship based on our own “Viking!

You can view the article here.

Powerhouse High wins project of the year honors from Landmarks Illinois in statewide awards

Excerpts from Chicago Tribune – CityScapes by Blair Kamin, October 7, 2009

There was so much Olympics-related news last week that this one slipped through the cracks: The transformation of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. Power House, featured on this blog last month, won project of the year honors when Landmarks Illinois and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation presented their annual statewide preservation awards on Saturday.

Also among the winners: the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, who have heroically rehabbed the once-threatened Viking ship from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

… The annual Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards ceremony honors individuals, organizations, projects and programs from across the state of Illinois, whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. The event is open to the public.

… A gift from Norway during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, this Viking ship replica sailed across the Atlantic and served as a major attraction during the fair.

For many years, the ship was in dry dock in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo but it was eventually relocated to its current site in Good Templar Park during the mid-1990s. After more than a century of exposure to the elements and numerous relocations, the ship was in need of a more permanent preservation solution.

In the winter of 2006-07, the Viking ship was named to both the Fox Valley and statewide lists of endangered historic resources. Soon afterwards, the ship was selected as one of 25 candidates to compete in the Chicagoland Partners in Preservation Grant challenge. Co-sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the online voting process lasted four weeks and prompted a creative “Get out the Vote” campaign by this local grassroots organization.

Finishing in 2nd place, the Viking Ship stabilization effort was awarded 100% of the requested funds, which have been used to rebuild the structural support system, repair cracks in the wood, and provide a secure shelter and viewing platform for the vessel.

The jury remarked that “without the work of the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, the fate of this rare and invaluable historic resource would still be in jeopardy.”

Viking ship from 1893 Chicago world’s fair begins much-needed voyage to restoration

the June 26, 2008 article by Chicago Tribune reporter Gerry Smith

Built in Norway in 1892, the ship was modeled after a vessel called the Gokstad that had been excavated from a Viking warrior’s grave two years earlier and was estimated to have been built around 890. The replica, made of black oak, left Norway in April 1893 and made stops in Newfoundland and New York before arriving in Chicago in mid-July. Although it attracted much fanfare at the exhibition, the boat moored in Jackson Park Lagoon later fell into disrepair.

In 1920, the Chicago Park District took possession of the ship from a women’s group that raised $20,000 to repair it and move it to Lincoln Park Zoo, where it sat for decades in an open-sided shed, attracting few visitors and becoming layered with pigeon droppings.

This week, under a white tent in Geneva’s Good Templar Park, a crew of craftsmen tried to erase years of neglect to the ship, which last year was named one of the state’s 10 most endangered historic objects by Landmarks Illinois, a non-profit historic preservation group.

“You can see where things have gone south dramatically,” said Bob Fink, a maritime restorer who oversaw the work.

The boat’s wooden planks have started to rot and splinter after rain and snow leaked through holes in the protective tarp. In addition, the hull is sagging, the result of inadequate supports, said Fink, 51, of Queenstown, Md.

While Fink and another carpenter added support frames to strengthen the boat’s interior, a pair of workers from Chicago-based Methods and Materials cut steel beams to brace the ship from underneath.

Finally, Fink began installing a system of cables to pull the ship’s sagging frame back to its original form. “Once the cables are in place, she’ll be good to go for another couple decades,” Fink said.

In 1994, the Park District sold co-ownership rights for $1 to another group, the American-Scandinavian Council, which promised to restore the vessel and find a suitable home but made little progress. The ship was later moved to a warehouse in West Chicago. Then, the International Order of Good Templars, a temperance group that started in Sweden, offered to house the ship in its park in Geneva.