We spent a day exploring Reykjavik and this was one of the places we visited in the afternoon after our lovely lunch in Café Loki. It is quite walk able from mot places in the capital but I believe buses do go out that way and of course you could always take a taxi. It isn’t terrifically well signed but as we managed to find it obviously it is possible to find.
It is a large modern, not terribly attractive building. I think it look more like a factory but inside is well laid out and there I plenty to see which makes it worth a visit.
TIMES AND PRICES
May 1st - September 15th:
September 16th - April 30th:
Tuesday - Sunday 11-17. Closed on Mondays.
Adult: 1200 kr. About £7.00
Senior citizens (67+) and students: 600 kr.
Groups of 10+: 600 kr.
Children under 18, ICOM, FISOS: Free
Visa and Mastercard are both accepted
ACCESIBILTY AND OTHER PRACTICAL MATTERS
Most parts of the museum are easily accessible with automatic doors. There are folding prams for use of visitors with young children and wheelchairs as well if needed available from reception. There are lifts to the basement, where the cloakroom and toilets are situated, and there is also a lift between the floors of the exhibition room.
Information is available in Braille just ask at reception. There are audio guides in Icelandic, English, Danish, German, French, Swedish, Italian and Polish. Special audio guides for children are available in Icelandic and English.
The museum is all no smoking but there Is an area outside the café where wall mounted cigarette receptacles are available and people can smoke there .
The café is on the ground floor not far from the reception area but as we didn’t use this I won’t comment on what is offered or prices.
THE MUSEUM DISPLAYS
There was such a lot to see that really you needed to visit more than once. I find it hard to take in too much information at one time so we tend to choose a few things that interest u and spend time there and leave the rest as otherwise I get ‘information overload’.
We looked at the exhibitions that told the story of the Icelandic nation from the beginnings to the present day. Even that was actually too much to take it all in.
The exhibition starts with the ship in which medieval settlers crossed the ocean to the island mainly from Norway and takes the visitor through the years to the final exhibition which is the airport which is Iceland’s gateway to the world today.
Although there were many older exhibits the ones that grabbed my attention were those of the twentieth century which were collected into decades and sadly I remembered a lot of the things from the sixties onwards but it was funny to see them in a museum.
One of the museum’s most important pieces and one of the oldest is a sitting bronze figure that some think is Thor while others wonder whether it is a sitting Christ. The human figure has been dated to around 1000 AD. The figure is holding an object which could either be Thor’s hammer, but look remarkably similar to the Christian cross.
There are quite a few multi media displays with interactive touch screens . These allow you to choose how much you want to learn about different things and we spent some time on a couple of these but as they were in Icelandic we didn’t get a lot out of the wording! One of these interactive exhibitions was a telephone which allowed visitors to talk to people from the past which we watched some youngsters enjoying. There were also different videos on digital screens.
Once we reached the twentieth century there were a huge number of photographs which again were interesting but there I a limit to how much visual information you can take in so we looked at a few which grabbed out attention but as there were well over 600 it would take some time to do them justice but it was an impressive collection.
The main exhibition,’ Reflections of a Century’, takes you year by year through the century tracing the history of Iceland and its people . Every year I represented by about half a dozen photographs.
We were beginning to be a bit foot weary and as we find there is a limit to how much we can take in we spent about an hour and a half in the museum before we felt we had had enough and needed to get back to the hotel for a bit of a feet p before our trip to see the Northern Lights.
It is not a ‘must see’ place but if you are interested in finding out a bit more about Iceland and its history it is well worth a visit. It is well set out and there I plenty of variety so something will appeal to everyone I would think.
This is the cultural museum in Reykjavik but if you fancy something very different you can skip this and visit the Phallus museum see http://www.phallus.is/phallus/.” The Icelandic Phallological Museum is probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country.”
I just wish we had known about it sooner but sadly we didn’t have time to visit while we were there!