Museums in Iceland 

Museums in Iceland have flourished in recent years and are now internationally acclaimed; the National Museum of Iceland, The Settlement Exhibition and The Herring Museum in Siglufjörður are all examples of that.  Icelandic museums offer diverse and culturally relevant exhibitions on different subjects; history, art and nature and enrich and deepen our understanding of who we are and where we are heading. According to Icelandic laws the role of museums is to collect, research and preserve sources about mankind, its history, environment and landscape and make accessible for education and entertainment. Museums are therefore an important part of the community.


In the approximately 70 museums around the country everyone should find something to his or her liking; progressive or classic art, birds and whales and last but not least hundreds and thousands of objects that tell the story of Iceland and Icelanders from the settlement up until today. Icelandic museum make an effort to communicate their collections in a varied way to interest both children and adults. A museum visit is an experience for the whole family. Icelandic museum offer a wide range of educational programs, so school children in Iceland have good knowledge of their local museum. During both winter and summer countless groups of children visit the museums and experience the cultural wealth they safeguard.


The National Museum of Iceland, The National Gallery of Iceland and The Icelandic Museum of Natural History lead the way for other museums in the country. These three museums are state funded and have the role of head museum each in their own field. The Museum Council of Iceland is a co-operative forum for Icelandic cultural and natural museums. It supervises the Museum Fund and distributes from it monetary government grants to museums in accordance to the Museum Act nr. 106/2001. The Council is responsible for the execution of Act nr. 105/2001, that deals with the transfer of cultural objects between countries. Therefore the Council is responsible for granting permits for the transfer of cultural valuables from Iceland. In addition to this the Council addresses a number of other diverse tasks relating to its field.


In recent decades museums in Iceland have expanded their collections extensively and the diversity of operations has never been greater. This is due to several factors, including well-educated and diverse staff, governmental initiative and public interest. Promotion and success of the museum workforce is one of the most important driving forces in Icelandic museum operations.


Museums are in the core of cultural activities in each region and are an important part of tourism in Iceland. All year museums give all guests the special chance to visit museums all over the country, where invigorating and fun activities are on offer and they can learn about everything from herrings to needles.