Akranes Museum Centre
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|Safnasvæðið á Akranesi|
|Location||Garðar, Akranes, Iceland|
|Public transit access||Bus route 57|
Coordinates: The Akranes Museum Centre (Safnasvæðið á Akranesi) consists of three museums: The Akranes Folk Museum, the Icelandic Sports Museum and the Mineral Kingdom. The Museum Centre houses several permanent exhibitions, as well as a large open-air museum, which consists mainly of houses and boats, including the old Garðar house and the 86-tonne ketch Sigurfari (Kútter Sigurfari)
The main purpose of the Akranes Museum Centre is to collect, register, preserve, research and display artefacts and other objects of cultural and historical value for the Akranes area and Iceland. The Akranes Museum Centre is located at Garðar in Akranes, near the town's cemetery. It is easily accessible from Reykjavík via car or bus route 57.
The history of the Akranes Museum Centre dates back to 1959, when the Akranes Folk Museum was founded. Ten years prior, local pastor Jón M. Guðjónsson had started collecting artefacts from the Akranes area. By the time the museum was opened he had already collected between 1500 and 2000 artefacts. Originally located in the old Garðar house, the museum moved to a new location in 1974. The old Garðar house is now part of the Museum Centre's house collection. In 2001, a new house, The Museum Hall (Safnaskálinn) was built next to the old museum building. The Museum Hall houses both The Icelandic Sports Museum and The Mineral Kingdom, as well as a small gallery for various art exhibitions, and a small café, Garðakaffi.
The 86-tonne, two mastered ketch Sigurfari (Kútter Sigurfari) is arguably the Museum Centre's most notable display item, located outside the museum buildings. Sigurfari was built in England in 1885, out of oak. It was used for fishing in Iceland until 1919 and in the Faroe Islands until the 1970s. Sigurfari is the only preserved ship of its kind in Iceland. Formerly open to the public, Sigurfari is now unsafe to board and is in need of restoration. The Akranes Folk Museum preserves and exhibits examples from the past of everyday life in the Akranes area. The museum's collection includes household items, various tools and machinery used by craftsmen, farmers and fishermen, medical equipment etc.
The Museum Centre's house collection consists of several houses from the Akranes area. Most of the houses have been relocated to the museum area from their original locations. An exception is the old Garðar house, where the Folk Museum was originally housed. This house was built in 1876 as a parsonage and is the oldest house made of concrete in Iceland. The Garðar house is open to the public. It shows a late 19th to early 20th century upper class Icelandic home.
The Icelandic Sports Museum is located in the Museum Hall. Opened in 2002, the museum introduces all recognized sports in Iceland. Various sports-related items are one display, such as equipment, trophies and medals, photographs and other memorabilia. A part of the museum is dedicated to sports in Akranes.
The Mineral Kingdom displays a comprehensive collection of rocks, minerals and fossils. Part of the exhibition is hands-on. Another part of The Mineral Kingdom is dedicated to the Hvalfjörður Tunnel. The tunnel, opened in 1998, is the only undersea tunnel in Iceland.
The Akranes Museum Centre is open every day between 10:00 and 17:00 during the summer (June 1 - August 31) and every day between 13:00 and 17:00 during the winter (September 1 - May 31). Garðakaffi is closed Mondays during the winter.
It is possible to book guided tours outside opening hours.