Compare a Viking exhibit to say an exhibit on ancient Greece or Egypt. It is much harder for the artefacts to speak for themselves, and what I was struck by at the exhibit was the careful work that the curators of the exhibit put into storytelling.
The exhibit placed artefacts on loan from Swedish museums next to re-creations of larger items that can't leave Sweden, like some Gotland picture/rune stones, next to re-creations like this ship which is based on original material, but combines evidence from several sources.
What you see is largely Swedish artefacts here, as it is put on by the Swedish museums, but the story is being told in a general way so that the Swedish specific material applies to all of Viking Age Scandinavia. I wouldn't have called the exhibition 'Swedish Vikings' either, though it is a little what you are seeing.
The curators put the exhibit together thematically, taking you through several aspects of Viking life and filling in the blanks with visuals as well as text. There were some good interactive elements teaching about the origins of the names for the days of the week and making comparisons between Viking life and our life. I took away a recipe for Viking bread.
The most spectacular piece in the exhibit is also a good example of the role museum curators have to play in making visuals out of the meagre Viking remains. The rivets of the ship suspended in the shape of a ship turns what would look like a pile of metal into a living thing that really captures the imagination. This may be old hat at places like the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, but it was new to me, and I have done my fair share of Viking tourism.
The Viking exhibit is well worth a look. It will be at the Field Museum until October 4th.