Historic Buildings Collection

The National Museum´s experts supervise houses and other buildings in the ownership and keeping of the National Museum of Iceland. The museum began its campaign for the preservation of old buildings in the early 20th century; the first building to be listed, in 1930, was the chapel at Núpsstaður, south Iceland, which had been used for some years as a storage shed.

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Arngrimsstofa

Arngrímsstofa in Svarfaðardalur
  • Open daily from 8-18.

By Tjörn in Svarfaðardalur valley there is a large farm and church. Here there was a vicarage until 1917. On the slope directly above there is the minor farm Gullbringa, which was built in the 18th century. A small house, which was built in front of the old farm, still stands and this is where the painter Arngrímur Gíslason (1829-87) lived his last years with his second wife and children.

Bæjardyr á Reynistað

Reynistaður

At Reynistaður in Skagafjörður fjord an entrance hall is all that remains of the large farm that Þóra Björnsdóttir had built after a great fire in 1758. This building is one of the few existing examples of a timber frame from the 18th century

Burstafell

Bustarfell in Vopnafjörður
  • Open daily from June 1 - September 10th from 10-18

At Bustarfell there is a large, elegant turf farm which has been in the care of the National Museum since 1943. It houses the Bustarfell museum where old artifacts from the farm and from the family who lived there are exhibited. It is believed that the old farm at Bustarfell was founded in 1770.

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Grenjaðarstaður in Aðaldalur

In this group of large Scandinavian turf farms is the old priest‘s seat at Grenjaðarstaður. The area was once one of the wealthiest in the country. In its current form the farm was mostly built in the last part of the 19th century and its walls are mainly lava stone from the area. Open June 1st – August 31st every day from 10:00-18:00.

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Grafarkirkja

Church at Gröf

Grafarkirkja is a small chapel built by Gísli Þorláksson, bishop of Hólar in the late 17th century. The church is believed to be the work of a well-known wood carver of the time, Guðmundur Guðmundsson, whose baroque carvings can be seen on the altar and verge boards.

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Glaumbær í Skagafirði

Glaumbær
  • Open April 1 - May 19: 10.00 - 16.00 May 20 - September 20: 9.00 - 18.00 and September 21 - October 20: 10.00 - 16.00, monday-friday. October 21 - March 31

A large turf farmhouse of the North-Icelandic type. This type of turf house emerged in the 19th century and is distinguished by the forward-facing gables of all the front buildings, but with all rear buildings arranged at right-angles. Glaumbær has been part of the National Museum Historic Buildings Collection since 1947. The Skagafjordur Heritage Museum has exhibited in the old farmhouse since 1952. Admission and opening hours.

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Galtastaðir in Hróarstunga
  • The farm is closed

At Galtastaðir there is a turf farm from the 19th century.  The baðstofa in the attic was built over the cattle-shed in order to make use of the heat of the cows to heat up the house. This arrangement is called fjósbaðstofa.

Húsið á Eyrabakka

Húsið and Assistentahúsið at Eyrarbakki

Eyrarbakki was a merchant port in 1602 and had a very busy store there from the latter part of the 18th century until the 20th century. Húsið was built in 1765 and also housed the shop manager and other staff of the Eyrarbakki store. 

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´Hofskirkja

Church of Hof

The oldest record of a church in Hof is from 1343 when it was a rural church, dedicated to Saint Klemens. Later it was an outer church of Sandfell. The church which stands now was built from 1883-85 by Páll Pálsson, master carpenter from Hörgsdalur valley. Now the church has a wooden frame bound together, with long stone walls and a flat turf roof.

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Hjallur-i-Vatnsfirdi

Drying shack in Vatnsfjörður

In the Westfjords there are large areas of excellent massive stones which were widely used for making the stone walls of turf houses.  Drying shack is a good example of this. It is one of the largest and best houses of its kind in the country, and is thought to have been built around 1880.

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Klukknaport

Belfry at Möðruvellir

Belfry (Klukknaportið) at Möðruvellir is thought to have been built in 1780. It is the only one of its kind to have survived from older times but such ports were common by churches in earlier centuries. Three clocks hang in the port, the oldest of which is from 1769, the second is from 1799 and the youngest is from 1867.

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Kirkjuhvammskirkja

Kirkjuhvammur Church

A short distance above Hvammstangi you will find Kirkjuhvammur church. The soil at Kirkjuhvammur on Vatnsnes peninsula, which in older times was called Hvammur in Miðfjörður fjord, was considered very good earth but there were no major farms here. Kirkjuhvammur was an assembly place in 1406. Farming stopped in 1947 and the houses collapsed to the ground around 1960. The church is the only building from former times still on site.

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Keldur

Keldur at Rangárvellir

At Keldur there is an old turf farm which, despite its age, is one of the largest preserved turf farms in south Iceland. The wooden frame of the hut is characteristic of Roman style. From the hut there is an underground tunnel thought to date from the 12th or 13th century and was probably built during a time of conflict. In addition to these, several outhouses have been preserved. Open June 15th-August 15th every day from 9:00-17:00.

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Litlibær in Skötufjörður

Litlibær was built in 1895 by two families who originally lived in separate parts of the house, which was then divided in the middle with a wall. The house is made of timber with stone side walls and grass on the roof. Around 20 people lived in Litlibær at one point. From the year 1917 only one family lived on the farm. Litlibær was inhabited until 1969.

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Laufás

Laufás in Eyjafjörður
  • Open May 13th – September 15th every day from 9:00-18:00.

The turf farm at Laufás is a good example of the buildings surrounding a wealthier priest‘s seat from the latter half of the 19th century, but it has a continuous history dating back to the Middle Ages. Most of the relics at the site now are from neighbouring farms, though some are from Laufás. The Akureyri Museum oversees operations at the farm. Open from May 13th – September 15th every day from 9:00-18:00.

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Nýibær at Hólar in Hjaltadalur

Nýibær is an example of a medium-large turf farm in the Scandinavian style. This type of turf farm came about in the 19th century and is characterized by roof eaves which extend over the sides of the house while the back of the house is perpendicular to the main tunnels. Nýibær was built in 1860.

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Nesstofa

Nesstofa

Nesstofa is the first residence of the Icelandic Director of Public Health, made from stone in 1761-1767. There was a public dispensary in Nesstofa from 1772, as well as working midwives. The building became private property when the two official posts were moved to Reykjavík around 1830. Nesstofa is now managed by the Medical  History Museum of Iceland.

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Church at Reykholt

Reykholtskirkja church was built from 1886-1887 by Ingólfur Guðmundsson. The design of the church may have been strongly influenced by the Dómkirkja cathedral in Reykjavík.

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Sómastaðir

Sómastaðir in Reyðarfjörður

The stone house at Sómastaðir was built of local rock in 1875, using glacial clay, smiðjumór, for mortar. 

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Staðarkirkja

Staður Church at Reykjanes

About 8 kilometers from Reykhólar on the Reykjanes peninsula in East Barðastrandarsýsla district is the church Staðarkirkja. 

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Selið in Skaftafell

Selið is a small turf farm of a southern type, built by Þorsteinn Guðmundsson farmer in 1912 and is a fine example of farms as they used to be in that area until the 1930s. 

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Church at Saurbær

It is believed that there has been a church at Sauðanes since the 12th century. The vicarage at Sauðanes (Sauðanes House) was built in 1879 and Sauðaneskirkja church in 1889. The old vicarage is the oldest stone house in Þingeyjarsýsla district and was made from stone brought from far away but carved on site.

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Sjávarborgarkirkja

Sjávarborg Church in Skagafjörður

Sjávarborgarkirkja church stands on Borg, a rocky headland a short distance from Sauðárkrókur, which rises high above the surrounding flatlands. There was a church there at least from the 14th century. The church is made from timber, built by Ólafur Guðmundsson of Húsey in 1853. The house originally stood just north of the old turf farm.

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Sæluhús by river jökulsá á Fjöllum

The river Jökulsá á Fjöllum was a great hindrance in past centuries. It was not considered possible to cross on horseback, but there were ferries in places where traffic was highest. The refuge was built around 1880 from stone. The house was said to be haunted by an animals the size of a year old calf, with thick fur and terrible. 

Sauðanes

Sauðanes on Langanes

It is believed that there was a church at Sauðanes since the 12th century. The priest‘s residence at Sauðanes (Sauðanes House) was built in 1879 and Sauðaneskirkja church in 1889. The old priest‘s house is the oldest stone house in Þingeyjarsýsla district and was made from stone brought from far away but cut on site.

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The Windmill on Vigur Island

The only preserved wooden wind-powered grain mill in the country can be found in Vigur. It is said that Daníel Hjaltason goldsmith built the mill around 1860, but it has since been enlarged and improved.

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Tungufellskirkja Church

At Tungufell in Hrunamannahreppur district there is a wooden church in the older style, towerless, characterised by low walls and windows aligned with the edge the roof. It was built in 1856 by Sigfús Guðmundsson, master carpenter who also built Hrunakirkja church and the old parish church in Skálholt.

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Viktoría's House in Vigur Island

This classically-influenced wooden house was built in 1860 by Sumarliði Sumarliðason, goldsmith. It was originally built adjacent to an older timber house dating from around 1800. 

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Víðimýrarkirkja

Víðimýri Church in Skagafjörður

At Víðimýri in the Age of the Sturlungs was the ancient manor of chieftain Kolbeinn Tumason. It is said that there has been a church at Víðimýri since Christianity was adopted in Iceland. Víðimýrarkirkja has always been a farmer‘s church, in the ownership of priests or farmers, and is now a parish church. 

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Pakkhúsið at Hofsós

The warehouse at Hofsós is among the oldest ones of its kind in Iceland. It is a log house with a high black-tarred roof. The building is thought to have been erected in 1777. There is a storage space in the loft of the second floor with doors through which goods were moved into and out of the house.

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