ICELAND  |  Reykjavik, Iceland Travel Guide
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Reykjavik Museums

Reykjavik Museums

Founded in 1957, the Arbaer Folk Museum, 577-1111, is an open-air museum with old buildings such as a turf farmhouse and a turf church. Some of the houses are furnished. The grounds, near the Ellidaar River, are divided into five different areas: (1) The Square contains the largest houses; (2) the Village displays smaller houses; (3) the Harbour area contains two large, black commercial houses from the Vopnafjord trading post in the northwest, plus a toy collection and a lecture hall; (4) The Rural area consists of an old farm (Arbaer) and other buildings associated with farming and the rural communities; and (5) the Machine Museum contains, among other things, the country's first steam locomotive, a steamroller, and some fire engines. Next to the farm is an old turf church from Skagafjordur. The museum is open daily, 10 am to 6 pm, June through August, except Mondays, but is open only on weekends during September and only by appointment from October through May.

The Arni Magnusson Institute at the University of Iceland, 525-4010, is a research institute containing many historic manuscripts that were expatriated from Denmark. The manuscript exhibit is in The Culture House,, at 15 Hverfisgata, and is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm. No admission is charged on Wednesday, but the fee is $5 at other times.

The Asgrimur Jonsson Museum, 551-3644, occupies the former home and studio of the noted artist at 74 Bergstadastraeti. Selected works are on display year-round, 30-40 at a time. The museum is open daily from 1:30 to 4 pm during the summer, except for Saturdays.

Some 121 works are on permanent display at the Einar Jonsson Museum, 551-3797, on Tjarnargata street. Sculptures are displayed both inside the museum and in the garden outside. During the summer, the museum is open from 1 to 4 pm daily, except on Mondays.

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History, 562-9822, is at 116 Hverfisgata and has a large collection of Icelandic rock specimens, plants, birds, and animals. The museum is open on weekends, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 1:30 to 4 pm.

The Living Art Museum, 551-4350, is at 3b Vatnsstigur. It was founded by and is operated by a group of artists whose aim is to collect and present avant-garde and experimental art to the public. The museum is open from 4 to 10 pm on weekdays and from 2 to 10 pm on weekends.

The Museum of Natural History, 562-9822,, is on the third and fourth floors at 5 Hlemmur, next door to the bus station. It exhibits rocks found all over Iceland, the country's breeding birds, and many invertebrate animals. The museum is open from 1 to 5 pm on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays during June, July, and August, and from 1:30 to 4 pm on those same days between September and May. Admission is free to seniors, the disabled, and children under 17; others pay $5.

The Reykjavik Maritime Museum, 517-9400, is at 8 Grandagardur, and is open daily except Monday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission costs adults $8 and children over 18 $5. Children under 18 are free.

Reykjavik's Museum of Photography, 563-1799, is at 15 Tryggvagotu and is open weekdays from noon to 7 pm and 1 to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The National Museum of Iceland (Thjodminjasafnid), 552- 8888, is at 41 Sudurgata and features objects dating back to the Viking days. Founded in 1863, it is both an archaeological and an ethnographic museum. Reopened in 2004 after a seven-year renovation, it is open from 11 am to 4 pm daily between May and October, but only from 11 am to 4 pm on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between October and April.

The Numismatic Museum, 569-9600, is a branch of the National Museum. It is at 4 Einholt, where the collection of stamps and medals is displayed at the Central Bank.

The city's largest art gallery is the Reykjavik Art Museum (Hafnarhus), 590-1200, at 17 Tryggvagata. It is a three-fold municipal art museum built in 1973, and is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. The building, which is at Miklatun Park near the heart of town, has six exhibition halls for art and an outdoor area in an enclosed courtyard. It also houses a souvenir shop and a café. One ticket is valid at all three municipal art museums when used on the same day. Children under 18 are admitted free; adults are charged $8; and groups, seniors, and those with handicaps pay $4.

The Saga Museum, 511-1517, is beneath The Pearl atop Oskjuhlid Hill in one of the city's largest parks. It is in an old water tank which has a viewing deck and a cafeteria on the fourth floor and a revolving restaurant on the fifth floor. The museum depicts significant moments in Iceland's history through the use of costumed, life-sized figures in true-to-life settings. The museum is open daily year-round except on Mondays, and the hours are 10 am to 6 pm from April 1 to September 30 and noon to 5 pm from October 1 to March 31. Close to a nearby parking lot is Strokkur, a man-made geyser that imitates the natural spouting hot springs of Geysir, and at the bottom of the hill is the Nautholsvik geothermal beach.

The Nautholsvik Thermal Beach, 511-6630, was developed in an area where natural hot water flows out into the sea, thus warming the water like a frolic in the Gulf of Mexico. A golden sand beach has been created, a pool has been enclosed nearby, and refreshments and various other services are available. From May 15 until September 15, the beach is open daily between 10 am and 8 pm.

The Telecommunications Museum, 550-6410, is in a house on Sudurgata, once the home of a radio station. Opened in 1998, the museum displays old telephones and telegraph equipment, and depicts the history of telephony in Iceland.

Last updated June 1, 2011
Posted in   Iceland  |  Reykjavik
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