Like all capitals in the world, Reykjavík offers art and history lovers the opportunity to visit a number of museums, each one more interesting than the next.
In fact, most of them are accessible free of charge if you have the Reykjavik City Card. Here are some of the best museums in the capital. (Learn more and book the Reykjavik City Card)
The Reykjavík Municipal Museum of Art is located on three different sites in Reykjavík: Hafnarhúsið in the old port, Kjarvalsstaðir in Klambratún, and Ásmundarsafn in Laugardalur.
The Reykjavík City Museum offers the largest art collection in Iceland as well as the largest museum exhibition space in the country. There are nearly thirty exhibitions every year on more than 3000 square meters.
There are various exhibitions: major exhibitions, museum collections, and installations of contemporary art by young international artists.
The exhibitions of the municipal museum are aimed at a wide audience who are interested in the works of the great masters, contemporary multimedia art, design, architecture, or children's culture. The museum publishes refined exhibition catalogs and information brochures about exhibitions to better experience and experience the visit to the museum.
On the first floor of the Hafnarhús Museum, there is a popular brasserie with a magnificent view of the old port. The brasserie specializes in a large selection of light and healthy cuisine, at lunchtime there are extra healthy soups.
The Hafnarhúsið Museum shop sells Icelandic design objects and works of art at reasonable prices, plus there are exhibition catalogs and a large selection of books.
The Kjarvalsstaðir Museum has been open since 1973. It is named after one of the Icelandic painters: Jóhannes S. Kjarval (1885-1972). At the museum, there is a permanent exhibition of his works, which make up a large part of the art collection of the Reykjavík Municipal Museum of Art.
In addition to the Kjarval exhibitions, there are temporary exhibitions on Icelandic and international art, as well as 20th century architecture and design, mainly.
At the café in Kjarvalsstaðir, you can enjoy Icelandic designer furniture as well as the floor-to-ceiling window frames that make the presence of nature even more sensitive. The Kraum Design Boutique is the only store in the Kjarvalsstaðir Museum where you can find Icelandic souvenirs, books, and exhibition catalogs.
The Ásmundarsafn Museum is dedicated to the sculptures and drawings of the artist Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982).
Ásmundur's sculptures are exhibited inside and outside the museum, but this unique building was the artist's home and studio. Ámundur designed and built the house himself during the years 1942-50.
The National Museum of Iceland has existed since 1863. There are valuable works of art and objects from Icelandic culture, such as weapons, jewelry, or even just everyday objects.
The museum also proposes to retrace the history of Iceland through, among other things, computer software. There is also a bronze statuette of the god Thorshamar, a silver statuette of Thorshamar, and several sculptures...
The National Gallery is located on the shores of Lake Tjörnin. In addition to numerous temporary exhibitions, the gallery offers a collection of nearly 5000 works of art that focus on Icelandic artists.
For example, there are numerous works by the main painters Ásgrímur Jónsson and Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval.
Einar Jónsson (1874-1954) was a great Icelandic sculptor. Just outside Hallgrímskirkja, there is the museum dedicated to him. The museum also offers a sculpture garden, in which mystical characters are arranged, hidden behind flowers and shrubs.
Built in 1957 in a former abandoned farm (that of Árbær), the museum presents the rural lifestyle of Icelanders in the contemporary era in the form of living paintings.
It is a large open-air museum. There are nearly 30 19th-century peat houses and houses to visit with interior items. The museum guards wear the costumes of the period. From time to time we meet the artisans at work in their period costume, very nice!
On the 6th and last floor of the Grófarhús, the municipal library, exhibitions of photographs by national and international artists are hosted several times a year. Magnificent photos from the 1870s to the present are exhibited there.
Note: this museum was nevertheless voted by The Guardian, one of the best free museums in the world, because yes, it is also free!