For those interested in history of Reykjavik, Arbaer Open Air museum is the place to be since it is one of the finest open air museums in Iceland depicting and representing old traditions and ways of living the inhabitants of Reykjavik used to abide. The museum is actually not too recent and the first concerned ideas expressing the need to preserve the “old Reikjavik” through establishing a museum came up in 1940s.
In 1950s, the interest of Reykjavik Society organization in local history increased and the city’s first official archives were founded. Árbær used to be a farm and well-known accommodation for passers-by going to/from Reykjavik, but in mid 20th century, it was already abandoned and left in a pretty bad shape. There were no second thoughts that this location would be a suitable place to establish the local museum. The museum’s doors became open to visitors in 1957.
There is plenty to do and see in this open-air museum, which contains more than 20 buildings forming a village, town square and a farm. Even though most of the buildings are not in their original locations and some of them are only replicas, the museum enables one to imagine the lifestyles of locals as they were some hundreds of years ago.
Moreover, besides the regular exhibitions, there are various seasonal events being held once in a while and they are dedicated to a particular period or historical topic (e.g. a Christmas exhibition or vintage car displays).
Árbær Open Air Museum most certainly is a great choice for those traveling with the whole family as during summertime, domestic animals are released within the premises of the museum and it surely draws attention of the littlest visitors as well.