In 2025, Ornavik will open a viking interpretation center, a unique project in France, that will have for mission to present through a dynamic and living way the viking epic, from its birth to its end.
Two elements ruled our choice for the interpretation center. Firstly, no viking objects were found neither on the park site, nor in the region. Therefore, we could not establish a collection, as museums do.
Also, we wanted something living, based on the emotion, the direct immersion in the culture. Finally, and since the beginning of the adventure, we focus on the interactivity between you, visitors, and the historic park Ornavik.
The interpretation center is an educationnal place. It has for objective to make understandable the viking culture, by letting you handle weapons, tools or clothes. You could, wearing a helmet or a shield, realize their weight.
By hitting a beam with a sword, trying on a chain mail shirt or wearing clothes made out of flax and wool, you will understand better how this people lived and come home with precise images of their history.
Craftsmen, merchants or amazing navigators, the first characteristics of the Scandinavians who lived from 8th to 11th century is not what people actually think of them.
One of the objectives of the future interpretation center is to demistify the beliefs about the Scandinavians and the vikings. You could get to the other side of the mirror and discover a less caricatural world, but a much spectacular one.
The interpretation center has for objective to invite the Normans to rediscover their region's history and their origins, because it is the viking raids that triggered the creation of the Normandy.
Their presence is acknowledged since 911 by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. This treaty gives birth to Normandy, then to a ducal and even royal dynasty, with the reign of William the Conqueror.
The permanent exhibition will have for objective to trace the history of the scandinavian societies from the beginning of the viking phenomenon around the 8th century, till its end, in the 11th century, through the foundation of Normandy in the 10th century.
Copies of objects, spaces for projection of audiovisual documents and digital installations will make these exhibitions the most interactive possible. You will be immersed in a virtual reality experience.
You will board a real viking ship, to cross the seas. You will feel like a raider or merchant navigator, feel the strong emotions of adventure and journey into the unknown.
Your tour as a visitor will be unique, made of sounds, pictures and objects at your disposal and trips in virtual realities. No windows nor distance between you and the old Normans !
Every year, you could discover new temporary exhibitions on the vikings or the history of Normandy, that present particular aspects or novel archeological objects, lent by museums that own collections related to the viking history.
But this is not enough ! Our interpretation center will combine tradition and modernity. Inspired by Scandinavian architecture, with glass and metal, it will offer various other services : a reception area, a restaurant, and a digital documentation center open to all.
For your receptions, seminars or conferences, or for your group trips, we intend to integrate a reception room with a view on the historic park, available for rent.
While designed to welcome a very large public, the interpretation center will keep an important place for schools. We want to establish numerous and solid partnerships with the pupils and students of the region.
For them, adapted conditions will be available : a educationnal room, workshops, mediation adapted supports during the whole exhibition courses, and innovative, smart and educationnal supports.
Beyond Normandy's borders, Ornavik also attracts publics of all ages and cultures. In response to the international dimension of the vikings and, Normandy it welcomes every year many foreign tourists. We will provide multilingual translation devices as part of our arsenal !
In order not to forget our origins, the interpretation center will of course be an addition to the historical park. Thought to bring you even more in this experience and the approach to the Norman culture, its guideline will always be to give you elements to enjoy better the visit.
With our permanent exhibition, before coming into the parc, you will have chronological landmarks and elements of the historical context in wich the carolingian village and the viking camp take place.
Finally, one of the rooms will enable you to smoothly do the link between both spaces. There we will always show in a simple and educationnal spirit, the parc and its history, but also the experimental archeology, our association, its objectives and its wonderful projects. !