A Visit to Árbær Open Air Museum

In 2020 we visited Árbær Open Air Museum, part of the Reykjavik City Museum. We learned all about Christmas in the olden days.

Over 30 houses are preserved in Árbær Open Air Museum, which opened in the 1960s. Most houses were moved there from downtown Reykjavik, but the oldest houses in the museum came all the way from Vopnafjörður, in the East Fjords. The old Árbær farmhouse and a couple of outhouses are original to the area.

7-day itinerary for a trip to Iceland, Árbær open air museum
Árbær Open Air Museum

Farming in the Elliðaárdalur Valley, next to the museum, probably began soon after settlement in the 9th century. There are, however, no references to Árbær before the 15th century, when the farmland belonged to the Viðey Island monastery.

Other buildings in the museum have an exhibition of their own, many of which show how life was for various families of various social standing through the ages.

The Museum is a part of the Reykjavik City Museum, which includes The Settlement Exhibition, Reykjavik… And the Story Continues, The Reykjavik Photography Museum, The Reykjavik Maritime Museum, and Viðey Island.

Admission to the museums is included in the Reykjavik City Card (apart from the ferry ride to Viðey Island).

Check out the video below

One House Broke During Transportation

The first house, Hansen’s House, was moved to the museum in 1960. Apart from the Granary and The Meat House, which were transported from Vopnafjörður, it is the oldest house in the museum. The last house to be moved there was Ívarssel in 2005.

Hansen’s House used to stand in downtown Reykjavik, close to Hotel Borg, and Ívarssel stood close to Grandi, where you will find FlyOver Iceland and the Whale Museum. For Icelanders, the most famous building is probably the house that used to stand in Lækjargata (next to where Hard Rock is now housed). It was transported in two halves, but when one portion was being transported, it fell off the truck and broke.

Front page of newspaper DV / timarit.is

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