Jorvik Viking Centre - York, United Kingdom
Top: Excavated Viking Remains
Bottom: Viking Ice Skate made from horse bone
Most of the Jorvik Viking Center prohibits photographs, and the lighting isn’t well suited to share the experience. With that said, it was an excellent experience, and even had an unexpected ride midway through!
The historians at the Jorvik Viking Center (dressed in period appropriate garb) appear at first to present an air of the commercial enterprising of historical artifacts. They are however, passionate and enthusiastic, and very willing to share their own personal experiences and knowledge (except for maybe the scowling coin striker near the exit, I think he just wanted to go home and nobody seems to buy the coins).
The ride, which was unique for a museum of this type does a very good job of placing you in he region during Viking rule, and not in the way that you’d think. After being seated in a very Disneylandesque buggy, you are taken through a number of recreated areas important to Jorvik. The animatronics were on par with your favorite Chuck-E-Cheese establishment, but it was the smells that were piped into different areas that were unexpectedly excellent.
The smell of the hearth and the riverside were particularly good at creating an atmosphere, whereas certain other areas carried a horrid smell that was entirely appropriate. Easily one of the most interesting small museums that I have ever been to, and there is quite a bit of fascinating information to be discovered once you pass beyond the veneer of overproduced historical drama intended to guide you through the experience.