How the Seals are Saving Hvammstangi (Museums in Strange Places S01 E11)

Just off the Ring Road in the north of Iceland, a small town once known for hunting seals has breathed new life into their community with a much more sustainable industry: seal watching. At the Seal Center in Hvammstangi, scientists and museum professionals are working together to study seal life in Iceland and help visitors engage more meaningfully and responsibly with some of Iceland’s cutest locals. They are doing this by combining hard facts and the art of storytelling. I spoke to Sigurður Líndal Þórisson to learn more. You can read more about Iceland’s seals on the Center’s website.

Music in this episode is “Þar sem malbikið svífur mun ég dansa” by Jónas Sig.

The Seal Center in Hvammstangi in the summer.

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!):

Photos of the Seal Center in Hvammstangi, Iceland

The new interactive at the Seal Center that shows the real travels of a real seal pup in it’s first year.

The main taxidermy display in the Center’s museum.

Photo from the Seal Center website.

The main exhibit space in the Center’s museum.

A sign for the Seal Center on the Ring Road, inviting tourists to turn off and drive the 15 minutes to Hvammstangi.

A seal-watching boat in the Hvammstangi harbor. Photo from the Seal Center website.

Sigurður showing me the museum’s new interactive that tracks the travels of a seal pup during it’s first year.

The museum’s new interactive that tracks the travels of a seal pup during it’s first year. Here is one of the videos and pictures that pops up to illustrate the stages in the pup’s life.

Photo from the Seal Center website.

Heading off the Ring Road towards Hvammstangi in the snow.

Farms outside Hvammstangi barely visible through the snow.

The Seal Center in the the middle of a heavy snowfall!

An activity and art corner for kids.

The harbor in Hvammstangi as I was leaving.

Birds in the museum.

The view from the car window on the way from Akureyri to Hvammstangi.

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