The Speaker of the House of Keys, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK, has welcomed Dr Gudrun Whitehead to Tynwald.
An associate professor of Museology at the University of Iceland, Dr Whitehead was in the Island working with Manx National Heritage to gather material for her research project: ‘The Performance of Viking Identity in Museums: Useful Heritage in England, Iceland and Norway’, a comparative study that will also be looking at the Lofotr Viking Museum and The Viking Ship Museum in Norway and the Yorkshire Museum in York.
During her visit Dr Whitehead was joined by the Curator for Archeology at Manx National Heritage Allison Fox for a tour of the Tynwald Chambers hosted by Mr Speaker.
The tour provided an opportunity for Dr Whitehead to view the replica Manx Sword of State, on loan from Manx National Heritage to Tynwald until March 2019.
Mr Speaker said: ‘I was pleased to welcome Dr Whitehead to Tynwald and discuss aspects of the Island’s Viking past with such a learned scholar. Her visit with Allison Fox was especially timely as Tynwald is currently “home” to the replica Manx Sword of State, which many will have previously seen on display at Castle Rushen, and I took the opportunity to extend my sincere thanks on behalf of Tynwald to Allison and Manx National Heritage for generously agreeing to the sword’s loan. It is always rewarding to be able to work in partnership with Manx National Heritage, an organisation dedicated to promoting the Island’s cultural identity and heritage, elements of which I am sure will prove of considerable value to Dr Whitehead’s most interesting research project.’
Dr Whitehead said: ‘On my recent visit to the Isle of Man I had the great privilege of visiting Tynwald and tour the Chambers. I was struck with a sensation of familiarity, roots, connecting my homeland, Iceland, and the Isle of Man through tradition and history. It is my sincere hope that these two islands may continue to cultivate an academic and professional partnership. I would like to thank Mr Speaker who gave me the tour and all the staff of Manx National Heritage for helping me achieve that goal.’
Mr Speaker is pictured with Dr Gudrun Whitehead, centre, and Allison Fox from Manx National Heritage and the replica Manx Sword of State. Photo Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal