HUMAN AFTER ALL: EMOTIONS IN VIKING AGE MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS
The characters from the Icelandic sagas have been referred to as cold, unfeeling, and lacking emotion. However, people in the Viking Age were far from emotionless. Emotion is increasingly becoming acknowledged as a concrete part of human history and experience. In recent years, interest in and acknowledgement of emotions from the past has continued to grow and become accepted in the field of academia. This article examines how emotion is portrayed in, or absent from, exhibits covering people from the Viking Age through three Icelandic case studies: The National Museum of Iceland (a principal museum), The Settlement Exhibition (an accredited museum), and The Saga Museum (a non-accredited museum). We explore textual, visual, and other sensory representations within the exhibits through the lens of emotion studies and museology. We intend to look at how emotion has been assigned to the subjects of the exhibitions, and how the lack of attending to emotions in Viking Age exhibitions has the potential to foster the dehumanization of people from the Viking Age. Our aim, through the analysis of the case studies, is to recognize and analyze the attempts to include a complex emotional spectrum that characterizes the historical, but above all human, subjects portrayed in the exhibitions.
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