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Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga

artifact in exhibit: Viking horn

Although this exhibit toured North American cities in the early 2000s, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has done a good job of preserving information and items from the exhibit for current online visitors. Teachers of American history will enjoy the multimedia options and layout of this website—a useful resource for teaching about the earliest European explorers to land in North America, as well as the contributions of Scandinavians to the history of the Americas.

The website offers viewers an introductory Exhibit section, which uses nine artifacts to anchor the introduction as well as eight gallery rooms. In Viking Voyage, users will follow an interactive path detailing the voyage of Viking sailors from Scandinavia to North America. At each of the seven destinations, subsections related to archaeology, sagas, environment, genetics and history provide the needed context for viewers—replete with images and videos.

The final section, Learning Center, offers educators resources including a bibliography of secondary resources, links to relevant sites on Viking history, a vocabulary section, maps, and authentic Viking board games and alphabet presentation. Of particular interest is the Teacher's Guide, which provides lesson and activity ideas for the classroom using the resources in this exhibit. These activities should serve as a starting point for further activities teachers can develop on their own using the site's resources.