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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Enlightenment Gallery: Room 1


1169.1 m2

Filming hours

  • Before 10.00 Monday – Friday
  • After 17.30 Monday – Thursday
  • After 20.30 Friday

Making an application 

Consult the curators 

Recommend this location

Enlightenment Gallery
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    Enlightenment Gallery

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    Enlightenment Gallery – length

  • 3

    Enlightenment Gallery – sculptures


Enlightenment Gallery

Formerly known as the King’s Library, this room was built between 1823 and 1827 and was the first part of the new Museum building as it is seen today.

Careful restoration work between 2000 and 2003 revived the original room to its previous glory, in time to celebrate the Museum’s 250th anniversary. Cleaning and repairs to the oak and mahogany floor and classical architectural features have refreshed the space. Hundreds of square metres of plaster were cleaned and repaired to restore the yellow and gold ornamentation and the re-gilded balcony.

  • Lighting restrictions: natural and artificial light, only cold-lamp/ low-level lighting permitted
  • There is no access to the balcony
  • Some sections of the display may have filming restrictions due to loan items from other institutions

About the objects in
the Enlightenment Gallery 

About the history of this space