Museums in Strange Places: A New Podcast About Icelandic Museums (Ep 1.1 Árbær Open Air Museum)

I’m excited to share that the first episode of my new podcast on Icelandic museums  is now available!

Iceland has about 160-165 museums (around 45 of those are accredited) in a country with a population of 330,000…on an island roughly the size of Maine…most of which is uninhabitable or covered in glaciers. That’s a lot of museums. In fact, it’s roughly one museum per 2,000 residents. Compare that with the United States, where we have one museum per 9,000 residents or the UK, which has one museum per 26,000 residents.

I became fascinated by these statistics, and the museums themselves, during the two years I lived in Reykjavík studying for my MA in Medieval Icelandic Studies. Thanks to a Fulbright Fellowship (thanks Fulbright Program!!!), I’m back in Iceland to focus on museums of all stripes– from the halls of the National Museum to the old city public toilets where some punks have set up a tiny Punk Museum to the galleries of Icelandic masterpieces to the shelves of phallological specimens in the Icelandic penis museum.

Subscribe to the Museums in Strange Places Podcast and you can expect fascinating conversations with Icelandic museum professionals, world class exhibitions, private museums in gas stations, an introduction to Icelanders and their knack for storytelling, and a unique window into the inner workings of museums on this strange but wonderful little island.

[Use the hashtag #MuseumsinStrangePlaces on social media and/or tag me @hannah_rfh.]

A little bit about me for new followers: I’m an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. I have a BA in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MA from the University of Iceland in Medieval Icelandic Studies. After completing my MA, I spent two years as the Marketing Coordinator for the American Association for State and Local History, a Nashville-based national nonprofit dedicated to serving history museums, historical societies, and other public history institutions.

How to Listen to the Museums in Strange Places Podcast

The Museums in Strange Places Podcast is available on your favorite podcast listening platforms (Did I miss one you like? Let me know!):





Google Play




OR, listen right here on my website using the Soundcloud player below. Each episode will have it’s own companion blog post with a player right here on


About Episode 1.1: Árbær Open Air Museum in Reykjavík, Iceland

I visit the Árbær Open Air Museum in Reykjavík to interview the Árbær Museum Project Manager, Sigurlaugur Ingólfsson. In this episode you’ll learn about: museum operations in Iceland, museum mergers, tourists vs. locals, Vikings, and why it’s blasphemy to visit Siglufjörður and *not* visit the Herring Era Museum.

From the Árbær Museum website: “Árbær was an established farm well into the 20th century, and the museum opened there in 1957. Árbær is now an open air museum with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from central Reykjavik.

Árbær Open Air Museum tries to give a sense of the architecture and way of life and lifestyles of the past  in Reykjavík and during summer visitors can see domestic animals. There are many exhibitions and events held at the Museum which highlight specific periods in Reykjavik’s history. These include craft days, vintage car displays, Christmas exhibitions and much more. There is something for everyone at Árbær Open Air Museum.”

The music in this episode is “Reebok” by soandso.

Photos of the Árbær Museum




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Want to learn more about general Icelandic history and culture? Here are some places to start: 



Movies & TV:




  1. Pingback: Bonus Ep: What Makes an Open Air Museum Memorable (Museums in Strange Places Podcast) – Hannah Hethmon // Museums in Strange Places Podcast

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