Eldheimar is a museum of remembrance, giving visitors the chance to go back in time and learn about the dramatic volcanic eruption in Vestmannaeyjar. The main focus of the exhibition is one of the houses which became completely buried in the eruption. It has not been excavated.
The exhibition focuses on the 1973 volcanic eruption in Vestmannaeyjar, without a doubt one of Iceland’s biggest natural disaster. Visitors get a glimpse into peoples lives on Heimaey before the eruption that would change their lives forever. The people of Heimaey had to leave their homes in the middle of the night and evacuate the island. Many of them never saw their homes or any of their belongings ever again.
The highlight of the exhibition is the house on Gerðisbraut 10, the home to Mrs. Gerður Sigurðardóttir and Mr. Guðni Ólafsson and their 3 young children. With the youngest one only a few weeks old they were forced to leave their home in the middle of the night taking with them only a bottle for the baby. A few days later their home had drowned in ash and lava. Gerðisbraut 10, after being buried in ash and lava for over 40 years, has now been excavated. It shows how cruelly nature treated the homes of so many islanders.
The show also covers the Surtsey eruption, the island that emerged from the ocean south of Heimaey in 1963. The Surtsey eruption lasted for almost 4 years and ever since only scientists have been allowed on the island in order to monitor how new ecosystems come to life.
Surtsey was inscribed as a natural property on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the 32nd session of the The World Heritage Committee in July 2008.