Industry and Nostalgia in Akureyri, Iceland (Museums in Strange Places S01 E15)

For this episode, I’m back in Akureyri to visit The Industry Museum, a small museum formed from the enormous personal collection of one couple, who wanted to document the history of the many successful industries based in the “Capital of North Iceland” in the mid-20th Century. Deputy Director Jóna and I talk about nostalgia and relevance, and she shows me some of her favorite exhibits, including the intact workbench of the local coffin-maker.

Music in this episode is by the KK Band (scroll to the end of the page to see more from KK).

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 Industry Museum in Akureyri, Iceland

Akureyri as seen from the other side of the fjord. Via Lonely Planet.

Downtown Akureyri via Iceland Magazine

The Industry Museum

Industrial equipment at the entrance to the museum

Jóna in front of the coffin workshop

The workbench of Gósi, the coffin-maker

Label for the coffin-maker’s workbench

The metal shoes used to climb electricity/telephone poles

The metal shoes used to climb electricity/telephone poles

Books printed in Iceland sitting on a historic printing machine

Museum signage

Museum founder Jón Sveinbjörn Arnþórsson

Large items out in the yard at the Industry Museum

The desk of a craftsman.

A few of the many beer cans and bottles on display

A printer’s type set

Furniture made by Nói, a popular craftsman who lived in Akureyri.

An ad for wool produced in Akureyri

An ad for wool produced in Akureyri

Sign from a shoe-maker’s shop

Upstairs in the museum

Food tinned at factories in Akureyri


A hair salon from the middle of the century (ft. my husband and me)


Factories at Gleráeyrar- 1945

Below: A new exhibit on a woman who had worked at the factories that was in the works when I visited. It hopes to add more of the women’s stories to the museum.

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