The National Museum of Iceland offers numerous temporary exhibitions, plus a permanent display chronicling the history of Iceland, from the Viking settlement era through to the modern age. This main exhibition, entitled Making of a Nation, features more than 2000 artefacts, giving a complete overview of Iceland’s society and culture throughout the years, including how the ancient chieftains once ruled and the introduction of Christianity.
Among the museum’s extensive collection are various weapons, drinking horns, and a bronzed figure of Thor. Its most prized possession however is a 13th century Valþjófsstaður door, which features intricate medieval carvings depicting scenes from the legendary 12th century knight’s tale, Le Chevalier au Lion.The museum goes into some depth of the period from the 1600s to today, detailing how Iceland struggled under foreign rule before finally gaining independence, with various simple household items conveying the way of life during tougher times in the country’s history.
The National Museum of Iceland is located up a gentle hill, a short stroll from the heart of old Reykjavik. It can also be reached by a number of bus services. Free English tours start at 11am on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from midMay through to September.