Trolls Invade Morton Arboretum

Rocky Bardur troll dislikes cars / Thomas Dambo

Trolls live in caves, rocks, or mountains. They live long lives, are very strong, but are known to be slow and somewhat dim-witted. They aren’t fond of humans and have even been known to eat a few.

In Morton Arboretum in northern Illinois, six wooden trolls have taken over, thanks to the inventive Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Each is about 30-feet-tall, except for a reclining one that is 60-feet long, and made of recycled wood. These installations are part of Troll Hunt, an inspired exhibition that will take families on nature walks in search of these dangerous creatures.

Troll snack / Thomas Dambo
Troll snack / Thomas Dambo

Visitors can take a hike along a 6-7 mile route through the 1,700-acre arboretum to find all six trolls, drive or bike to them, or take a “troll tram ride.” There’s a fun troll hunt map that only adds to the sense of adventure.

Chip Sullivan, FASLA, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, has called for bringing mythology back to our landscapes, to imbue them with deeper meaning that can connect us to stories from the past.

Wood troll / Thomas Dambo

Through thousands of years of Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore, trolls have been seen as powerful supernatural beings who are capable of great mischief.

Troll trap / Thomas Dambo
Troll net / Thomas Dambo

They have been stirring our imagination for centuries — and in Morton Arboretum the myth is so much fun.

4 thoughts on “Trolls Invade Morton Arboretum

  1. Susan Jacobson 08/22/2018 / 9:11 am

    Terrific exhibit that is bringing in a record number of visitors to The Morton Arboretum to explore nature!

  2. Beth Kelley 08/23/2018 / 3:48 pm

    Reblogged this on Mental Flowers and commented:
    What a fun, creative art installation in a public park. I also love that folks are allowed to (gently) play with the trolls, as so often public art and sculptures are not meant to be played with.

  3. Virginia Cromwell 08/29/2018 / 10:15 am

    Seattle has a Troll that is much loved, but I think these are fascinating and can be interacted with.

  4. Roger Boddaert 10/04/2018 / 11:55 am

    Great educational exhibit to get kids close up to wood, fantasy trees, art out in nature
    May the forests be with you and yours.
    The Tree Man of Fallbrook Ca.

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