Arbaer was an established farm well into the 20th century. It is now an open-air museum with more than 20 buildings that form a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from central Reykjavik.
Around the middle of the 20th century, there was growing concern that “old Reykjavik” was disappearing forever. A petition was raised in 1942 and the city council was made responsible for the first effort to found a museum. In 1954, the Reykjavik Archives and Historical Collection was officially founded. Its first director was Larus Sigurbjornsson, and he set about collecting artefacts of many kinds. The old farm Arbaer had long been a popular rest stop and inn for people on the way to and from Reykjavik. It had been abandoned, and the farm buildings were in poor condition due to weathering and vandalism. In 1957, the City Council agreed that an open-air museum with old houses of historical value should be created there, and it was opened the same summer.
Arbaer Open-Air Museum gives a sense of the architecture and way of life and lifestyles of the past in Reykjavik. History comes to life at this open-air folk museum that is a re-created village, town square and farm consisting of more than 20 buildings including original turf-roofed farmhouses and a quaint church from 1842. During summer ‘villagers’ dressed in period costume carry out daily chores like spinning wool, milking cows and smoking meat. There are many exhibitions and events held at the museum which highlight specific periods in Reykjavik‘s history. These include craft days, vintage car displays, Christmas exhibitions and much more.
There is something for everyone at Arbaer Open-Air Museum.
Opening hours of Arbaer Open-Air Museum
June – August: Daily from 10 am -17 (5 pm)
September – May: Daily from 13 (1 pm) – 17 (5 pm)
GPS: 64.115906 N, -21.793881 W