Whale bones hang from the Roof at Húsavík Whale Museum
The Biggest Bones You’ll Ever See!
Whale bones hang from the Roof at Húsavík Whale Museum
If you’d like to see whale bones and learn how whales impacted Icelandic culture throughout the ages, visit the popular Húsavík Whale Museum in the north of Iceland. “People visit the museum because it is the best way to learn about whales and their environment without actually diving into the ocean,” says curator Hermann Bárðarson, a biologist with a keen interest in whales. “Last year, 21,000 people of all ages visited the museum.”

Whale Skeletons
The crown jewel of the museum, so to speak, is the 13 metre-long skeleton of a sperm whale. There are 8 more skeletons on display. “Only when one is close to one of these skeletons does one realise how large whales actually are and how strikingly similar their anatomy is to human anatomy,” says Bárðarson. “Most people never have the opportunity to come in close contact with a whale – simply because their ocean habitat is so different from ours. This is a real pity. It is our mission at the museum to interpret everything about whales to the general public. We are here to spark curiosity, disseminate knowledge and foster respect for these animals.”

Museum for all Ages
“Our museum is perhaps the most family-friendly museum in the country,” says Bárðarson. “Its content comes from the depths of the sea which is normally hidden from humans. It comes from a place that is generally thought of as dangerous, lifeless, cold and dark—but nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Children are especially receptive to the mysterious nature of this hidden world. We like to believe that we’re successful in delivering a positive experience for children by bringing this hidden world a little closer. The museum receives school groups from all parts of Iceland throughout the winter. The visits are an integral part of the children’s education about the environment.”

Fosters Community Spirit
The Whale museum has become an integral part of the local community. It is an attraction in its own right but it also supports the budding whale-watching industry in the Skjálfandaflói Bay. “Last year 50,000 people visited Húsavík exclusively to go whale watching and visit the Whale Museum. The Whale Museum supports the overall visitor experience and fosters the community spirit—everyone in Húsavík is proud of the museum. It also provides an important employment opportunity for professionals, academics, unskilled people and volunteers in a disused slaughterhouse,” says Bárðarson. “Come and see the whale skeletons and learn how whales have impacted Icelandic culture.”

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