Greinasafni: Icelandic Times einnig undir: Söfn
Recording a Changing World

One Man’s Vision Becomes Skógar Folk Museum
Byggðasafnið á Skógum, better known to English speakers as Skógar Folk Museum, is a unique place. It was founded on 1st December 1949 in a small basement room of the Skógar school by Þórður Tómasson, who always had great interest in preserving the original Icelandic folk culture.

A Pivotal Moment in History
The establishment of the museum took place at a turning point in Icelandic history, when a new culture was taking over from the old: the old agricultural society was disappearing. Farmers were giving up both on agriculture and rowing out to sea in their open boats, and more and more were moving from the rural areas or fishing villages to Reykjavík.
Over time, the museum has expanded greatly; the collection of items which began in 1945 is still growing today, and the museum is now divided into three parts, the Folk Museum, Open Air Museum and Museum of Transportation. Documents and handcrafted objects are on show connected with fishing, agriculture and farm life and, in the most recent building, transportation and telecommunication.

The South Coast on Show
Besides the various exhibits in the main building, there is a lot to view outside as well. All the buildings outside were in use on the South Coast of Iceland at some time. They were deconstructed piece by piece by the curator, to be rebuilt and shown in the open-air museum. You should take your time going through them, because it is a unique experience. One of the farmhouses is built as a ‘fjósbaðsstofa’: the living quarters that were traditionally built above the cowshed, using the cows as the main heating source. And no one should miss a visit to the old turf farmhouses Icelanders used to live in; the oldest is from 1838.
Skógakirkja, the church of Skógar, which was consecrated in 1998, has elements dating back to 1600. Holt was the first house built of timber in Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla, in 1878. The children’s school from Litli-Hvammur in Mýrdal was originally built in 1901. In the newly built area, you can see how fast Iceland has changed since the mid-20th century.
In the Museum of Transportation, you can find a cafeteria where you can get traditional Icelandic food or some light refreshments during your visit, and the museum’s shop where you can buy handcrafted pieces to remember a beautiful day. The fascinating Folk Museum of Skógar will surely show you that time moves fast here.


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