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“MUCH more interesting than i would have suspected!”

National Museum of Iceland
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Private Sightseeing Tour in Reykjavik
Ranked #9 of 179 things to do in Reykjavik
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Windsor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
143 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“MUCH more interesting than i would have suspected!”
Reviewed February 26, 2012

I was a bit wary of going to the museum, i guess being a snob coming from London, but i tell you the Icelanders KNOW how to do a good museum! It was about £7 a head to get in and we were there for a couple of hours, it's got everything right from the settlement through to modern life, and its set out really well to keep you interest, with lots of interactive displays and places to sit and take it all in. It also houses the Icelandi Photography museum which was showing a fascinating exhibit of 30 years of an Icelandic photographers work. Well worth a vist. You can walk there easily, just walk down the length of Tjornin on the paths and then turn right and cross the road at the end. It had a good gift shop and the cafe was packed which is always a good sign. Also they had free lockers for you to use for your coats and bags so you didnt have to lug them all through the museum, great idea!

Visited February 2012
Thank MrsJen1310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
280 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
“Perfectly manageable, digestibly informative”
Reviewed February 24, 2012

I tend to try to go to the national museum of most places I visit, and this one was one of the best I've seen. It combines lots of artifacts from the year 800 onwards with short, informative panels and lots more detail is available on the interactive screens if you have time. The sections are distinguished chronologically and simplified to make it easy to remember stuff once you leave. Arrival of Christianity, the Norwegian rule, the Danish rule, the reformation, etc. Read more and you find out more detail.
I got through the museum, reading the main text and looking at the helpful signposted 'key artifacts' in about an hour. Downstairs , there was a temporary photo exhibit of 20th century Icelandic life, a great complement to the exhibits about older history above. A good shop and a busy little cafe full of locals.

Visited February 2012
Thank EllieandAlexis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“look + learn + have fun”
Reviewed February 23, 2012

I loved this museum. It was a great way to learn about Icelandic history! Some examples of what we learned:
- most popular names in the 11th century
- the fact that the first ever census of an entire country, by name and age, was conducted in Iceland in 1703!
- what the inside of a 19th-century Icelandic cottage looked like
- what old Viking drinking horns looked like (so beautiful!)
- how heavy a chainmail shirt really is! (This was in the room of costumes you can try on - my favorite; so fun. There's another interactive room where you can look through old magazines and records from the middle of the 20th century - while browsing, there was a record player playing such gems as an Icelandic cover of Rosemary Clooney's "This Ole House." Amazing.)
This is one of the museums that's covered by the very worthwhile "Reykjavík Welcome Card," which allows you access to several museums, all city buses, and many of the fantastic baths. Great value!

Visited November 2011
Thank kikigalore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2012

It was pretty good, however, there was nothing that I found too interesting.

Visited February 2012
Thank Alex F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, USA
Level Contributor
100 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Fantastic for the history buff”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

We didn't know much Icelandic history before we came, but the National Museum did it proud (up till the 20th century). The displays are attractive and there are interactive displays that allow you to dig deeper into the subject if you want to know more. The exhibitions are on two floors and cover the history thoroughly until about the 1920s. (Not much was said about the British and American occupation during WWII and later NATO base.) I also enjoyed the special exhibits on fashion and particularly the embroidery work of a local woman on national costume. Nicely displayed, good explanations and interesting artifacts.

Visited February 2012
Thank Megan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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