The Viking Age is an immensely popular topic in Nordic museums. Between c. 800–1050 ad, the people of the relatively isolated geographic area of Scandinavia commenced extensive colonisation and settlement of overseas territories. Until now the main focus of Viking exhibitions has been on the cultural aspects, but the mobility and lifestyle of people during this period also had a profound influence on the distribution of plants and animals. The natural history aspects of the Viking Age are the main focus of the Viking Garden, a permanent outdoor exhibition in the Botanical Garden at the Natural History Museum in Oslo. After inspirational trips to various museums in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, England and Ireland our team landed on a ship-like structure of weathering (corten) steel set in a Nordic arboretum. The aim of the design was to make the public immediately recognise the period without assuming it to be a reconstruction and at the same time allowing easy access to different elements including botany, zoology, geology, horticulture and landscape architecture. In this article we explain the two-year phase of conception and development. In addition, we highlight how the process and the results of the project were influenced by our collaboration with other museums.