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Cranbrook Institute of Science - Bloomfield Hills MI

November 28 / 29 / 30, 2003

Over the American Thanksgiving weekend, a team of 10 members of DARC traveled to the Cranbrook Institute of Science and mounted a three day presentation. Cranbrook hosted the Newfoundland Museum's traveling exhibit 'FULL CIRCLE - First Contact' from Oct 5, 2003 to Jan 4, 2004. In addition, Cranbrook commissioned 'World of the Norse', a living history style exhibit featuring three room settings.

The DARC team established a demonstration area in the main lobby of the Institute, where individuals demonstrated Viking Age musical instruments, soapstone carving, the warp weighted loom and the playing of 'kings table'. An armour try on area here was also a big hit with the public. (Rigg /Ragnarr / Thora / Kaðlín)

Inside of World of the Norse, physical demonstrations consisted of spinning, wood carving, amber work and coin minting. Those posted inside the room settings here also were called upon to explain the cultural background of the many objects. A nice touch here was Thorgrimmr carving children's names on slips of wood in runic as a keepsake. (Bera / Thorgrimmir / Grimbold / Kjarval ).

The last two team members moved through Full Circle, but mainly helped the others when things got busy. (Kadja / Ketill).

One new aspect to the demonstration was the inclusion of a series of 20 minute mini lectures, with three each afternoon. Topics : The World of the Norse / Sheep to Shawl /Music of the Viking Age / Viking Age Pastimes / Arms and Armour / Iron and the Blacksmith. These lectures were well attended, and certainly added a great deal to the public's understanding and satisfaction with the event. (Certainly something to continue with future museum presentations.)

Our presentation ran from 11 am to 5 pm each day, with the period from 1-4 pm being the busiest. Like usual, although there was time available for lunch breaks, all of us pretty much worked straight through. The Thanksgiving weekend is normally the highest attendance period at Cranbrook. DARC's involvement was obviously a big draw, final attendance was increased by about 15 % over last years. (To the great satisfaction of the CIS staff.) The public often showed interest in more detailed cultural and technical questions. This combined for a busy time - but one that was full of interesting conversations for DARC members. We all did a lot more explanation than physical working!

The Oakland Press did a story about our visit.

The first group are shots of the text panels from the exhibit. They take you to larger versions of the shots. The photos you see on the boards are from our own photographers, the text is by Darrell Markewitz.

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This second bunch were all taken the last day. Unfortunately not everyone was handy when Darrell went by taking photos.

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Bera making a face. Grimmi chatting up a tourist. Kadja is drop spinning. Kjarval talks about helms.
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Kjarval talks with tourists. Tafl with an audience. Ragnarr watches two youngsters. Rig is caught in a yawn.
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Thora carves quietly. Rig talks about a birch whistle. Grimmi listens to a question. Kaðlín peers at her weaving.
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Rig speaks about music. Ragnarr teaches tafl. Kettil draws a crowd. Kettil pauses for a moment.
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Kettil shows off a coin. Grimmi waves his hands about. And again. Bera laughing.
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Bera looks at combed fleece. Bera is combing fleece. Bera is still combing fleece. Kettil lecturing tourists.
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Rig talks about his lyre. Closeup of the lyre. Young visitor trys on chainmail.  
      Updated: 4 Dec, 2007
Text © Darrell Markewitz, 2003
Photographs © Individual artists
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