Despite it’s remote location as the northernmost capital in Europe, Reykjavik manages to be quite a cosmopolitan city. Those looking for art, culture, design, and history will find it here at one of the city’s museums. Visitors to museums in Reykjavik will also gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history, culture, and way of life. Here are some of the best museums in Reykjavik.
871 Settlement Exhibition
The Settlement Exhibition is, hands-down, the best historical museum in Reykjavik. Not normally one to linger in a museum (I can breeze through even the largest in about an hour), I spent over an hour in the his one-room museum, and could have spent even longer. The exhibit centers around an unearthed Viking longhouse that dates back to the early 900s and offers interactive displays and 3D recreations to help visitors understand what life was like for early Viking settlers.
The Saga Museum
The Saga Museum walks visitors through a series of re-created scenes (using wax figures) that tell the story of the settlement of Iceland. The wax figures may seem a bit silly, but the information presented is very informative and provides a good overview of the early history of the country.
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The Culture House is the least-expensive of the Icelandic history and culture museums. It offers an up close look at the sagas, the manuscripts that detail the history of Iceland, as well as rotating exhibits on the art, film, nature, and artistic expression of Iceland. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
The Reykjavik Art Museum
The Reykjavik Art Museum (RAM) is actually three buildings scattered around the city. Each one has a different artistic focus, and displays the works of both Icelandic and international artists. Admission at all three is free.
The Reykjavik Museum of Photography
The Reykjavik Museum of Photography also offers free admission and hosts three exhibition seasons each year. The museum displays the works of Icelandic and international photographers and houses a huge collection of photographs and photographic artifacts.
Photo by Bjørn Giesenbauer