Beatle-Town, Iceland: A Visit to the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Museums in Strange Places S01 E10)

The Icelandic music scene has produced a remarkable number of international stars like Sigur Rós, Björk, Kaleo, the Sugar Cubes, and Of Monsters and Men. You can learn more about them and discover new music at the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s a paradise for Icelandic music fans, but it will also impress museum-lovers and professionals with its beautiful exhibits and near-endless opportunities to engage with the music and learn more. In this episode, I tour the museum and talk with Managing Director Tómas Young to get the inside scoop on the museum and hear some great stories about Icelandic music history.

The music in this episode is “Honey Babe, Don’t Be Late” by Júníus Meyvant.

How to Listen to Museums in Strange Places

Welcome to Museums in Strange Places. I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, and this is a podcast for people who love museums, stories, culture, and exploring the world.

This year, I’m living in Iceland, and in each episode, I visit a different Icelandic museum to discover what stories they hold and how they reflect and shape Iceland’s unique cultural identity.

The podcast is hosted by me, Hannah Hethmon, an American Fulbright Fellow living in Reykjavík. You can find and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @hannah_rfh.

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

Icelandic Music from the Bands Featured in the Museum

Scroll down for pictures of the museum!

This song below is from the band that had Gunnar Jökull, whose drum kit we discussed in the episode.

I share this video below from Of Monsters and Men because I’m sure you’ve already heard their songs, and I wanted a chance to brag that I was in the front row for this concert in Iceland in 2013!

Photos of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum of Iceland

The music center that includes the museum

Björk’s music video playing on one of several large screens around the museum.

The newest addition to the museum, an exhibit on Björgvin Halldórsson

The (Icelandic) Boss

A PART of Björgvin Halldórssons’ guitar collection

A great story about Björgvin Halldórsson

An exhibit on the musical 60’s in Iceland

Guests using the karaoke studio

A “try it” mixing board where you can try mixing a popular song from Björgvin

More opportunities to listen to more music

Music festival memorabilia

Watching a Sigur Rós documentary in the cinema.

Memorabilia from Hljómar, Iceland’s answer to The Beatles

Using the ipad app to listen to songs and bands discussed in the exhibits

Costumes in the Páll Óskar exhibit

Palli <3

“Coming Out,” a panel from the Páll Óskar exhibit

A panel from the Páll Óskar exhibit on his involvement in Iceland’s gay pride parades.

The view from the second floor

Photos from the punk scene

Me with Páll Óskar’s LED outfit

Sign outside the museum


Gunnar Jökull’s famous drum set.

One of the concert venues attached to the museum

Sigur Rós represented larger than life

Some of My Favorite Icelandic Bands for Your Listening Enjoyment

Icelandic harbor sounds by clt008.

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