A harbour museum exploring Iceland’s dramatic relationship with the sea.

This waterfront museum explores Iceland’s dramatic relationship with the sea, and how the ocean formed a nation. Explore the new permanent exhibition Fish & folk – 150 years of fisheries, the temporary exhibition Melckmeyt 1659, the real coastguard ship Óðinn, and enjoy the terrace views across the harbour. The survival of the Icelandic nation depended on generations of brave fishermen heading into the unknown. Over the centuries, traditional methods of catching and working with fish transformed into a science that helped create and maintain a modern society. The museum’s exhibitions and artefacts bring our ocean history to life, from battling the waves to the ‘Cod Wars’, and beyond. And you can take a guided tour onboard the Óðinn, a 900-ton coastguard ship with its own stories to tell.

Fish & folk – 150 years of fisheries

The permanent exhibition Fish & folk – 150 years of fisheries at the Reykjavík Maritime Museum is about the history of the Icelandic fisheries, from the time when rowing boats gave way to large fishing vessels in the late 19th century, through to the 21st century. The story is told from the perspective of Iceland’s biggest fishing port, Reykjavík, and vibrantly presented through objects, text, pictures and games. The value of fish to the Icelandic nation cannot be overstated. Over the centuries fish has been a staple of the Icelandic diet, and one of the nation’s most important exports. The Fish & Folk exhibition is built around the central character of this history: the fish itself. The fish is followed from the ocean, into the net, onboard the boat, onto dry land and to its final destination – the plate. The setting for the exhibition, in the Maritime Museum on Grandagarður, is an appropriate one, as the building once housed a flourishing fish factory. The exhibition is both entertaining and educating and is equally of interest to those familiar with the fisheries and their history, and those who have no experience of the sea.

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