Geneva History Museum holds contest to name Viking ship dragon head, tail

  • Geneva History Museum workers pose with the dragon head and tail of the replica Viking ship chronicled in "Viking's Voyage," an exhibition at the museum Feb. 4-Dec. 23.

    Geneva History Museum workers pose with the dragon head and tail of the replica Viking ship chronicled in "Viking's Voyage," an exhibition at the museum Feb. 4-Dec. 23. Courtesy of Geneva History Museum

Posted2/1/2023 11:56 AM

Geneva History Museum is holding a contest to name the dragon head and tail of the replica Viking ship showcased in "Viking's Voyage: A 19th Century Ship's Journey from Norway to Illinois," an exhibit on display from Feb. 4 to Dec. 23 at the museum, 113 Third St.

This is the first time the dragon head and tail will be on display.


"While the Viking Ship is named Viking, its beautiful dragon head and tail are nameless," said museum director Terry Emma. "Visitors to the gallery can submit ideas for its name through Saturday, April 1. The best name will be chosen by the museum and the Friends of the Vikings Ship and the winner receive a free membership to the Geneva History Museum and a special edition Viking's Voyage T-shirt.

The dragon with its new name will be a feature character in the special children's exhibition Little Vikings from June 17 to Aug. 19 at the museum.

Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Admission is $5, $2 for ages 3-10, students, and age 65 or older. It is free on Tuesdays for veterans, active military and museum members. Included is the museum main gallery, "Geneva's Story."

Gallery visitors will receive a coupon for $2 off a tour of the Viking Ship at Good Templar Park, 528 East Side Drive in Geneva. Those who tour the ship will receive a coupon for $1 off museum admission.

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According to Emma, the 9-foot tall dragon head and tail of the ship were recently restored by the Friends of the Viking Ship, a nonprofit that maintains and from April to October offers guided and self-guided tours of the ship docked under a canopy at Good Templar Park.

The Viking ship was built in 1892 in Norway as a replica of the ancient Viking ship Gokstad.

In 1893 the Viking, the name given to the ship, sailed from Norway to Chicago and survived a long and dangerous nonstop crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to become one of the greatest attractions at the World's Columbian Exposition, known as the World's Fair.

After the World's Fair, the ship was presented to the Field Museum. The ship sat in dry dock alongside the museum for more than 20 years. In 1920, it was relocated to Lincoln Park and placed under a fenced-in wooden shelter.

In 1976, the Norwegian National League's Viking Ship Restoration Committee began the ship's restoration. The dragon head and tail were removed from the ship, and repainted and placed in the Museum of Science and Industry until they could be reunited with the Viking.


In 1993, when Lincoln Park Zoo expanded, the ship was moved to West Chicago and secured under a canopy. Two years later it was moved to Good Templar Park in Geneva and in 2012 trusteeship was signed over to Friends of The Viking Ship. They continue to facilitate the preservation of the ship and advocate for its preservation and a future permanent museum.

Visit for more information and tour schedules.

For more museum information, call (630) 232-4951 or visit

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