The 'Norse Encampment' is the collective name given to a series of living history programs, which illustrate daily life in the Viking Age. Historic interpreters, employing replica objects, bring the past to life through typical activities of the Norse, and portraying historic styled characters. Throughout the series exceptional care was taken to ensure everything involved in a presentation was reflective of current archaeological research. One cornerstone of all the presentations was reference to the Vinland voyages by the Norse, circa 1000 AD.
Educational Programming has been an important element throughout the development of the entire Norse Encampment series. As these are public programs, developing effective presentation methods has been critical. Working directly with the general public has lead to experience in how best to both communicate many aspects of the material culture of the Viking Age. Complex topics are sometimes best explained by practical demonstrations of even simple objects - methods that easily translate into the class room. Today's teachers are also regularly expected to develop an extremely wide knowledge base (while at the same time having less and less time to do it!)
As well as work directly related to the Encampment series itself, work has been undertaken in a number of related projects.
During and after the 'Viking Millennium Year' of 2000, educational programming was designed related to a number of major exhibits. For both Vikings - North Atlantic Saga (Smithsonian) and Full Circle, First Contact, consulting was done on the included educational packages, as well as training sessions for staff at a number of hosting institutions.
The World of the Norse was a 1000 square foot 'room setting' style exhibit created for the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Here replica objects were placed in 'living' context (something often lacking in more conventional 'artifact' based exhibits).
Direct teaching programs have also remained an ongoing activity. This ranges from several hours in a classroom through to a week long children's day camp. In 2000 there was the six week long college level program 'Interpreting the Viking Age' (Created and delivered at the College of the North Atlantic, St Anthony Newfoundland.)
Expect additions to the series of resources for teachers presented here, as individual working notes are translated for web based use.
The Wareham Forge
Who is Darrell Markewitz?