arbaejarsafn open air museum reykjavik iceland,

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REYKJAVIK'S OPEN AIR MUSEUM
ARBAE
JARSAFN
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Arbaejarsafn is a mixed open air and a folk museum, a part of the collective, official museums of the municipality.

The role of this museum is to educate its visitors and open their eyes to the living conditions and culture of their ancestors in the capital and elsewhere in the country in the past.

It is a centre for preservation and registration of houses and artefacts.  It was officially established as a public park in 1957, eventually to become an open air museum, which is gradually still being realised.  The original farm houses, which were built during the period 1890-1918, were occupied until 1948, when the property was sold to the municipality.

Most of the reconstructed houses on the museum grounds were moved from the oldest part of the capital, a few from the town's immediate vicinity, and even from the distant fishing hamlet Vopnafjordur in the North eastern part of the country.  The museum depicts all kinds of dwellings, stables, sheds, warehouses, business- and industrial buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The sod church was originally built in the district Skagafjordur in 1842, demolished in 1896, and its wood was used for the construction of the farm at Silfrastadir, wher the church stood.  When the farm was demolished, most of the wooden boards were transported to the capital, where the church was rebuilt on the museum grounds.  Its sister church at Vidimyri in the Skagafjordur district, built in 1934-35, still stands, and is considered on of the most beautiful sod buildings of the country.

Other sod houses on the museum grounds are the church vestry, which is relatively new, the old cow shed, the rebuilt sheep shed, and the new smithy, which depicts quite a few artefacts from the past smithies of the capital.

The machine house contains one of the country's two locomotives, which were used for the construction of the old harbour, the town's first steam roller called Briet, fire engines and other machinery.

The museum is mainly open during the summer season.  It is opened upon request during other parts of the year, and during winter it also serves as a part of the school- and educational system of the capital area.  Historical hiking tours are on offer on the museum grounds and in the river valley below.


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