Vikings raid museum

Christina Reid (Viking name-Tyra Vidarsdottir) commands respect from slave Mitch Powell (viking name Mickel) outside MSA Museum on Tuesday. The two are getting into character for Saturday’s Optimist Family Fun Fair.

Christina Reid (Viking name-Tyra Vidarsdottir) commands respect from slave Mitch Powell (viking name Mickel) outside MSA Museum on Tuesday. The two are getting into character for Saturday’s Optimist Family Fun Fair.

The Vikings of Reik Félag are invading this weekend’s Optimist Family Fun Fair.

Made up of 40 history buffs, the Norse Culture Recreation Society brings the Viking age into the present with interactive living history portrayals.

On Saturday, the MSA Museum’s front lawn will be converted into a seasonal trading village, equipped with tents, crafts, games and activities for all ages. The society, whose Icelandic name is translated to travelling fellowship, draws on archaeological, literary and historical sources to create an authentic experience.

“We really try to present life in a Viking village as opposed to just the warriors in a Viking village,” said museum public relations coordinator Sheila Louise Wright, who is also a member of the Norse culture society. “We consider ourselves to be living history experts or experimental archeologists. There is certainly a portion of entertainment to it, but we’re definitely more about teaching you what Vikings are actually about.”

The village will illustrate what it was like for travelling merchants during the Viking era, what kinds of items were traded, and what was used for bartering. Reik Félag members will bring some of their weapons, armour, weaving, music, food, spinning, stories, metalworks, and other arts and crafts to show and trade. Visitors will also have an opportunity to try their hand at spinning with a drop spindle, carry a Viking sword or learn to play Kubb.

One aspect of the education is dispelling some of the myths associated with the Vikings, such as the fact they didn’t wear horned helmets. There’s a lot more to Viking culture than being raiders or pillagers, said Wright, and much of that is still evident today. For example, she points out that Canadian law is actually based on a Viking judicial system.

“There’s a lot of things the Vikings gave to our modern world that people don’t realize and that’s the kind of stuff we’re trying to educate people on,” said Wright. “They were a very sophisticated society which people don’t realize. They weren’t just a bunch of barbarians.”

The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free food and refreshments will be provided by the Abbotsford Optimists Club.

MSA Museum is located at 2313 Ware St.

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