Arbaer

Safn – Icelandic for museum (and collection)

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With a group of curators away on a trip together one thing is guaranteed – we’ll find some museums to visit!

Museum sign in Reydarfjorur (not been there yet!!)
Museum sign in Reydarfjorur

 

So one Icelandic word I’ve learnt is ‘safn’ meaning museum or collection.   We’ve visited a whole host of wonderful museum large and small since arriving in Iceland.

There was Arbaer open air museum with it’s beautiful architecture and really stylish displays of Icelandic life and commodities.

 

One of Arbaer's displays of Icelandic life
One of Arbaer’s beautiful displays of Icelandic life
Historic Icelandic women's desses
Historic Icelandic women’s desses

Then there was Eldheimar (Pompeii of the North) telling the story of the eruption on Heimaey with it’s evocative excavated house and clever use of audioguides. David has an interesting interview with the Director of  this new museum here.

Eldheimar (Pompeii of the North)
Eldheimar (Pompeii of the North)

 

Detail of a buried house
Detail of a buried house

The Aquarium and Natural History Museum in Heimay celebrating it’s 50th anniversary with decorated stones and the chance to meet it’s VIP resident:

What hot feet a puffin has!
What hot feet a puffin has!

The eclectic shark fishing museum on the north of the Snaefellsness peninsula with artifacts, drying shark and the opportunity to buy the real thing. Visit Dmitri’s blog for a full write-up of this one!

Detail of fishing boat boat
Detail of fishing boat boat

The charming natural history museum in Ólafsfjördur with an extensive collection of birds, a polar bear and something which I particularly enjoyed…..a little browseable herbarium.

 

Pressed plants to flick through
Pressed plants to flick through

At the Museum of Akureyri the current exhibition was an interesting display of images of Iceland today taken using the wet plate technique. We have some plates like this in our collection and even though ours are about 100 years old and these were modern, all the smudges and drips around the edges look identical. ALongside this chenging temporary exhibition they also had two more permanent displays about mapping Iceland and life in Akureyri in ages past.

Gallery of maps in Akureyri Museum
Gallery of maps in Akureyri Museum
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Edge effects on a modern wet plate image of the Cafe Paris building, Akureyri

 

Arbaer Turf Houses

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Arbaer Museum
Arbaer Museum

We visited the wonderful Arbaer open air museum in Reykjavik. Historic houses in need of love have been rescued and moved to the site of the Arbaer farm. Here they receive specialist treatment to restore them so that they can be preserved for people to enjoy.

Demonstration doorway showing restoration work
Demonstration doorway showing restoration work
Farmhouse and church
Farmhouse and church

One highlight particular highlight was the opportunity to see the turf roof houses, including the Arbaer farmhouse (the only building not to have arrived from a previous home).

Arbaer farmouse roofs
Arbaer farmhouse roofs

This turf would help to insulate the house, trapping warmth inside for the residents; including the livestock. The stone walls of the barn also had turfs between the courses, stopping any potential draughts.

Inside the barn
Inside the barn 

It made me think of the Norwegian fairy tale in ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon’ about the husband who has to mind the house and decides to graze his cow on the roof.

Meadowsweet in the hay meadow
Meadowsweet in the hay meadow
Girl in Icelandic costume with young calfs
Girl in Icelandic costume with young calfs