The Reykjavik City Museum consists of five different exhibitions around the city, each with a different story to tell about the city’s history and culture. Visitors discover the history and daily life of Reykjavik’s people from the Viking Age to modern times.
The Reykjavik City Museum’s goal is to enhance interest, understanding and respect for Reykjavik’s city. The museum cohort includes the Arbaer Open-Air Museum, the Settlement Exhibition, the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Reykjavik Maritime Museum, and Videy Island.
Arbaer Open-Air Museum
Arbaer Open-Air museum opened in 1957 and contains over twenty old buildings. The buildings come from different places around the Reykjavik area, and the museum builders moved them to the Arbaer area to form a village. Each building displays information about a particular era of Reykjavik’s history. Visitors can spend an entire afternoon walking down the street and into Reykjavik’s past.
The Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition tells the story of the city’s first Viking age settlers. This interactive exhibition uses scholars’ theories about the life and work of the first settlers. The focus of the exhibition is an excavated Viking-age long house from the Settlement Age (874 – 930 AD). You can see interesting replicas of how the longhouse probably looked, as well as what Reykjavik’s landscape looked like to the first settlers.
GPS: 64.147294 N, -21.942687 W
The Reykjavik Maritime Museum
The Reykjavik Maritime Museum is a part of Reykjavik’s Old Harbor area. Its location is a renovated fish freezing plant. This museum exhibits Icelandic maritime history throughout the ages. Moreso, one of the main attractions is the coast guard ship Odinn.
GPS: 64.153105 N, -21.950149 W
People first settled Videy island around 900 AD. In 1225, the priest Thorvaldur Gissurarson founded a monastery on the island with the assistance of scholar and chieftain Snorri Sturluson. Iceland’s first treasurer, Skuli Magnusson, had his official residence on Videy in the 18th century. He founded Iceland’s first industrial enterprise, a woollens workshop, starting the urbanization of the area. Videy has also been a governor’s house and a dairy farm. There is plenty of nature to enjoy on the island, especially bird and plant life, with nice walking trails around the island. Videy is also home to the Imagine Peace Tower that Yoko Ono had built in Iceland to honor John Lennon. Walking around the and viewing the museum is interesting and fun. A ferry operates between the island and Reykjavik on a daily schedule.
GPS: 64.164301 N, -21.852902 W
Museum of Photography
This museum’s exhibitions focus on Icelandic photography and works of foreign photographers. The museum exhibits both historical and contemporary photography in an artistic, social and cultural context. The collection currently has approximately six million photographs. The oldest photos date from about 1860, the most recent from 2014. The museum preserves photographs from both professional and amateur photographers. Professional photographs include portrait and press photographers. In addition, the museum preserves personal photo collections, albums and family photographs.
GPS: 64.14935, -21.94152