How do you keep history fresh at a municipal history museum, even when many people in your audience have lived in that small town their entire lives? How do you best serve your local audience while still offering something interesting for tourists? These are the challenges the Hafnarfjörður Museum is trying to solve. The museum is housed in seven historic buildings in this old harbor town in southwest Iceland, and in the latest episode of Museums in Strange Places, Museum Director Björn Pétursson gives me a tour of the main building, Pakkhusið, and shares some of the museum’s recent successes and challenges.
Music in the this episode is by FÚNI, a duo playing Icelandic folk music on traditional instruments. The song in the beginning is “Bar svo til í byggðum – Once upon a time” and the song at the end is “Æskustöðvarnar / My childhood home.” (Follow the links for lyrics in English and the story behind each song.)
For more information on Hafnarfjörður, “The Town in the Lava,” and its history, check out the town’s excellent website.
How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places
The Museums in Strange Places podcast is available on your favorite podcast listening platforms (Did I miss one you like? Let me know!):
About the Museums in Strange Places Podcast
Museums in Strange Places is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world. This year, the podcast focuses on museums in Iceland.
Subscribe to Museums in Strange Places 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.
The podcast is hosted by Hannah Hethmon, an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh.
Photos of the Hafnarfjörður Museum
Photos of the town of Hafnarfjörður in Southwest Iceland
I share more photos of the town in last week’s post about my interview with the director of Hafnarborg, the art museum in Hafnarfjörður.
Historical Photos of Hafnarfjörður
You can see more photos by searching “Hafnarfjörður” on the website of the Reykjavík Museum of Photography.
Hafnarfjörður in 1920
Hafnarfjörður in 1972.
Independence day celebrations (not sure what year).
Behind the museum, present day.