The Settlement Exhibition 871±2 in downtown Reykjavik is small but fascinating. The museum’s main attraction is the ruins of a longhouse from the 10th century.

The Longhouse at the Settlement Exhibition. Photo: Wolfgang Sauber, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is known that people lived in it for 70 years, which is not long at all. But it could be because it was built at the base of a hill, and water and snow collected at the bottom of it.

Various items are displayed which were found in archaeological digs in Aðalstræti, nearby Suðurgata, Vonarstræti, where new government offices are being built, and Viðey Island.

Additionally, a piece of a turf wall was built before 871±2, which was believed to have been the year settlement began in Iceland. We know better now, of course, but this was an exciting find. The museum tries to show how life was for the average settlement person of that time.

You can also learn more about life in Iceland in the settlement era by reading some of the Icelandic sagas. But it is worth noting that these are historical novels and are stylized!

Your Friend in Reykjavik visited the museum during COVID-19 in 2021.

Live Stream at the Settlement Exhibition

Since then, an addition to the museum has opened called Reykjavik…The story continues. It is connected to the house at Aðalstræti 10, the oldest house in downtown Reykjavik. The two museums are connected via an underground tunnel. Together, the two museums show the history of Reykjavik from the settlement era to modernity. The museum is open from 10:00-17:00 every day, and one ticket is valid for both of them.

The museum is a part of Reykjavik City Museum, which includes Árbær Open Air Museum, The Reykjavik Maritime Museum, Reykjavik Museum of Photography, Viðey Island apart from the Settlement Museum and Reykjavik…The Story Continues.

The Settlement Exhibition is family-friendly, including a children’s activity area; this multimedia exhibition uses creative technology to immerse you in the Viking Age.

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