Friday the 13th was a very lucky day for the Oseberg crew. On prime time national TV we told around a million viewers about our Viking ship project.
This event took place on the "Lindmo” talk show with host Anne Lindmo. Last week, the new director of the Museum of Cultural History, Rane Willerslev, (who is also in charge of the treasures at the Viking Ship Museum) sounded the alarm on the terrible state of affairs regarding the Oseberg finds. The wagon, the sleds and many of the wooden artefacts are in such poor condition that it's just the outer varnish keeping them intact.
The outspoken Dane and his conservator Susan Bravoac did a great job on the show. Willerslev received unanimous acclaim when he stated that he was against moving the Viking treasures from Bygdøy to a new historical museum in Bjørvika.
The New Oseberg Ship Foundation had been invited to the show to explain how we are doing our part to secure Norway's historical heritage. A short video had been taped on the building site that morning showing the usual wide range of activities. Kjersti Bakken, head of the textile group, charmed everybody with her comments on the volunteers. Chairman of the board, Einar Chr. Erlingsen called attention to the large group of volunteers – coming from as far away as Seattle, Wales, Denmark and all parts of Norway – without their efforts the ship would not have been completed, and to the fact that the ship is built using solely handcraft and Viking Age tools.
A fabulous testimonial
Rane Willerslev's response to the question whether the project was academically sound made the Oseberg crew very happy and proud:
"This project is fantastic, I am quite jealous. I would have loved to have them working outside my museum. It has created such energy in the local community that I would like some of it!” said the keeper of our national treasures.
This was no small testimonial for the proud group of about 20 Oseberg crew to bring back to Tønsberg on a Friday the 13th.
The Oseberg crew on TV: Host Anne Lindmo (no. 4 from the right in the back row) with the Oseberg gang, many dressed in their Viking clothes. We really made our mark on NRK's Studio 2.
In the studio: From the left: Chief boat builder Geir Røvik, leader of the textile group Kjersti Bakken, conservator Susan Bravoac, chairman of the board Einar Chr. Erlingsen and director Museum of Cultural History, Rane Willerslev. (Both photos: Tordis Ødbehr)