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National Museum of Iceland
Reykjavík and surrounding
Culture, Traditions, Folklore,  Archeology, Civilization history,  Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions
Culture, Traditions, Folklore, 
Archeology, Civilization history, 
Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions

The National Museum of Iceland presents items that give a complete picture of the country's cultural history. The Museum was founded on February 24, 1863, and was called the Antique collection until 1911. During the first decades, the Museum was located in several attics in Reykjavik: the Cathedral, the correctional facility, the Parliament, the National Bank, and finally in the attic of the National Library building on Hverfisgata (now the House of culture). When the Republic of Iceland was formed in 1944, the Parliament decided to grant the nation a museum, to which the collections were moved in 1950.

Experts of the Museum control the old houses and buildings that are in its ownership and storage. The beginning of the campaign to preserve old buildings dates back to the first ten years of the twentieth century: the object first listed in 1930 was the chapel in Nupsstadure. The collection of buildings includes more than forty buildings, various in scale and located throughout the country. In Iceland, there are few objects built of stone before the twentieth century; four of them are in the Collection of historical buildings. It also controls several wooden buildings and churches of various types, such as the oldest bell tower in Iceland Metroville.

The National Museum of Iceland holds the country's largest collection of images. There are about 6.5 million images in total. You can mainly see photographs in various forms there, but also drawings, watercolors, engravings, graphic prints, paintings. Most of the collection consists of tapes and footage taken by individual photographers. These are mostly portraits dating from the period 1890-1960.

Employees of the institution conduct their research concerning its collections and the history of Icelandic photography in general. On the first floor of the gallery, there are two exhibition spaces dedicated to this subject. The National Museum has published several books about the work of individual photographers and the history of photography. There is also a studio that processes images for the Museum and makes copies for clients. Originals are provided for a fee to publishers, newspapers, and filmmakers. Copies for the masses can also be made on order.

Address: Suðurgata 41

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