Runic Scholar and Midwest Historian Visit Philadelphia’s Swedish Museum

Myths of the Rune Stone

Henrik & Dave Dr. Williams (on the left) and me at the American Swedish Historical Museum. We are both pointing to the respective regions in Sweden to which we have familial ties. My great-great grandparents came to Minnesota in the 1880s.

As noted in a previous post, I invited Swedish runic scholar Henrik Williams to speak at a special event on November 14, 2016 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Dr. Williams is a professor of Scandinavian languages at Uppsala University in Sweden and the lead researcher for the American Association of Runic Studies (AARS), an organization committed to historically accurate, peer-reviewed, scientific analysis of runes and runic inscriptions. Henrik is also engaged in an educational partnership with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Be sure to visit the team website for a series of articles and a video about accurate portrayals of Viking history.

Earlier in the day, I had the…

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Indie Scholar Podcast w/Dave Krueger


We all know that successful completion of graduate school does not guarantee a job with a living wage. Today, more than 50% of faculty appointments are part time and over 70% are NON-tenured positions. It is increasingly difficult for many to make a living as a higher ed instructor. These scholars and educators are faced with difficult choices. Some leave academia all together. Others find a creative ways to make a living while they continue to do the things they love.

The Indie Scholar podcast is a show that will feature independent scholars. These are folks who have earned graduate degrees, but have chosen (or have been forced to choose) non-traditional academic paths. They might be part-time faculty, non-profit managers, teachers, activists, journalist, government workers, or entrepreneurs.  However, they continue to educate the world and produce knowledge in some way.

The Indie Scholar Podcast is actively seeking guests for 2017. If you know someone who you thinks should be featured on this show, nominate them by sending an email to show host Dave Krueger at: davidkrueger01 at Include a paragraph or two about them and why you think they should be on the show. Self-nominations are strongly encouraged! Lastly, this is not a show about people who have necessarily “made it.” It is meant to highlight the experiences of a wide variety persons at various stages of professional and vocational life.

The Indie Scholar Podcast is a show for and about scholars working at the edges of academia. Click here to connect to Marginalia Review of Books and listen to a sample of the forthcoming show.


The song “Waiting Room” by Fugazi is used with permission. To purchase the album 13 Songs originally released in 1989, visit their page at Dischord Records.  Fugazi is a band known for its DIY (Do-It-Yourself) ethos and resistance to the corporate music industry.


Kensington Rune Stone Featured on the Travel Channel

Myths of the Rune Stone

img_2698 Author and historian David M. Krueger in front of Penn Station on the way home from filming with the Travel Channel in NYC. 

Early this summer, I took the train from Philly up to New York City for an afternoon filming session with the Travel Channel’s popular show, Mysteries at the Museum. In case you are not familiar with the show, here is  a description:

“Host Don Wildman digs into the world’s greatest institutions to unearth extraordinary relics that reveal incredible secrets from the past. Through compelling interviews, rare archival footage and arresting recreations, “Mysteries at the Museum” illuminates the hidden treasures at the heart of history’s most incredible triumphs, sensational crimes and bizarre encounters.”  

The episode to which I contributed is titled“Kensington Runestone, Smile! You’re Being Hijacked and Harriet the Spy” – which premieres Friday, September 30 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT 

In this episode “Don Wildman examines a…

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Talking Vikings at the Minnesota History Center

Myths of the Rune Stone

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul Minnesota. It is the home of the Minnesota Historical Society. While I was researching for my book Myths of the Rune Stone Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America, I spent many days here reading newspaper microfilm and scores of other historical documents. The event had been scheduled to take place in a smaller seminar room, but they had to move it to the main auditorium because of the crowd (167 in attendance!) I think that Mike Mullen’s recent article in the Minneapolis City Pages generated a lot of interest. Many thanks to Danielle Dart, coordinator of public programs for lifelong learners, for making this event possible. You can listen to the podcast above.

Although I have given numerous presentations on the book since its release last October, I made a special effort to locate…

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Take a Stand Against Religious Bigotry

10293729_10202859461980687_821112228677246707_oLast Monday, I was saddened to read in the Philadelphia Inquirer that a severed pig’s head was found outside of Al-Aqsa mosque in North Philly. It is a mosque I know pretty well. As I have taught my “Religion in Philadelphia” and “World Religions” courses over the years, Al-Aqsa has been a regular field trip site to familiarize my students with the practices and beliefs of Islam. Additionally, I have visited the mosque during my participation in the annual Interfaith Peace Walk held each spring. My students and I have always felt very welcome at Al-Aqsa and I wish to offer my support.

Since the mosque desecration last week, a mosque in California was set on fire and Muslims across the country are fearful about the growing tide of Islamophobia.  It is now more important than ever for Americans to take a stand against religious bigotry. Religion Dispatches published my article last week titled “Donald Trump, Islamophobia, and the Philadelphia Pig’s Head Incident.” It offers some historical perspective on the incident, which took place in the city founded by William Penn as a haven for religious liberty. It also articulates what I believe is the key to interfaith peace: relationship building. Please share this article and offer your voice of support for victimized minorities here and around the world.

Representing the True Believer in Scholarship and Film

Myths of the Rune Stone

Did Viking reach what is now Minnesota prior to the explorations of Christopher Columbus in 1492? We know for certain that Vikings did indeed spend time in North America around the year 1000. An archaeological site unearthed at L’Anse Aux Meadows  in Canada’s province of Newfoundland is proof. However, scores of Midwestern Americans have claimed that Vikings didn’t stop there. They assert that an inscribed artifact known as the Kensington Rune Stone proves that Scandinavians had reached the heart of the continent by 1362.

Although most professional geologists, linguists, and historians have concluded that the runic inscription is most likely a product of the nineteenth century, many Minnesotans have persisted in this belief. The faithful have frequently been portrayed by journalists, scholars, and filmmakers in a pejorative light. In the 1970s, a British TV producer, Brian Branston, spent time in Minnesota researching the popular enthusiasm for the Kensington Rune Stone. Here’s how he described believers in the artifact’s authenticity:

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Thoughts on Motion Sickness, Books Tours, and Scholarly Talks in Retirement Homes

Myths of the Rune Stone

Last week, my family and I traveled to Minnesota for a combination book tour and vacation. Flying across the country with young kids is no easy feat, and it is important to make sure you have all the necessary supplies i.e. diapers, favorite toys, etc. I’m particularly grateful for the brick of wet wipes my wife stuffed in the diaper bag at the last minute. They came in handy cleaning up the mess from our one-year-old vomiting four times (yes, four times!) in the rented car seat. Although motion sickness is a common ailment afflicting my side of the family, I think it might have been exacerbated by an overindulgence of pizza and (slightly) expired birthday cake on the plane.  The day ended a bit more smoothly than it began as my wife and I were able to attend my twentieth-year college reunion. It was great to see many old friends and I was…

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