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Explore Your Viking Roots

Natural History Museum of Utah invites Utahns to research their Nordic ancestry with expert help from FamilySearch specialists

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center invites Utahns to find out if they are Vikings on paper or just at heart, with the help from Nordic specialists from FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world. Visitors can enjoy extended hours on Wednesday, July 19, by researching their Scandinavian ancestry and experiencing Viking culture with the Museum’s Vikings – Beyond the Legend special exhibition. The special FamilySearch event at the Museum Natural History Museum of Utah at Rio Tinto Center, 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah, will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Guests who mention the FamilySearch event will receive a $2.00 discount off a general admission ticket at the ticket counter. The FamilySearch event is included with admission.


Nordic specialists will have computers set up to help guests look into their own family history research, starting at 4:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Geoff Morris, Nordic Specialist for FamilySearch, will share details from his fascinating research about Scandinavian history and genealogical records, and will give insights on some of the rare objects within the Vikings exhibit. Museum visitors are welcome to browse the Family Search Family Tree (FamilySearch or LDS Account required), ask questions, listen to the presentation and explore the lives of their Scandinavian ancestors in the Vikings exhibit.   


“This event provides families with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in their Nordic family history,” said Geoff Morris, Specialist for FamilySearch. “We invite people of Scandinavian descent to explore their Nordic ancestral lines through Family, find possible connections to the Vikings and then enjoy the artifacts from that region, displayed at the Museum.”


The new Vikings exhibit features an actual piece of 1,000-year-old Viking bread as well as hair from a real Viking beard. Guests will discover these artifacts and over 500 more, some never seen outside Scandinavia, including jewelry, funeral urns, weapons, game pieces, clothing and more. The exhibit also features interactive displays that allow guests to experience the daily life of the Norse people and better understand their traditions and influence.


“If you have Peterson, Larson, Jensen or any another Scandinavian name, this event is for you” said Sarah George, executive director of the Museum. “Many Utahns have deep ties to Scandinavian countries and this is a fun way to find out if they truly trace back to Vikings, or if they’re just Vikings at heart.”


Other special events and workshops related to the exhibit will be featured at the Natural History Museum of Utah through January 1, 2018. The Museum also features 10 permanent galleries for discovery including Past Worlds, Great Salt Lake, Native Voices, Land and much more. Entrance into Vikings is included in the Museum’s price of general admission.

For additional information, visit or call 801.581.6927.

Vikings was made possible through the joint efforts of The Swedish History Museum in Sweden and Museums Partner in Austria. Also by the exhibit’s Presenting Sponsor, George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation and Exhibit Sponsor, Emma Eccles Jones Foundation.

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About the Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is a premier scientific research and cultural institution. It opened to the public in 1969 and moved into a spectacular, award winning new home in 2011. The Museum’s 30 scientists oversee active field research programs throughout Utah, and elsewhere, and help card for natural history collections of more 1.6 million objects. NHMU offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year, including timely and interactive temporary and permanent exhibits, numerous special events and other programs. The Museum reaches 450,000 people annually, at the Rio Tinto Center and in communities and classrooms statewide. 



FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at or through more than 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.