Step back in Icelandic time at Arbaer Open Air Museum

When you consider the severity of the Icelandic winters, it is a miracle that the island was ever settled. If you’d like to learn how generations of Icelanders survived in the early days, visit the Arbaer Open Air Museum, which is a short drive from downtown Reykjavik.

The original sod house far right) and three additions made over the years.
Located on the former Árbær farm – once a popular rest stop and inn for people traveling to and from Reykjavík, the museum is a collection of more than 20 historically significant buildings. Above and below, the farmstead’s original sod house is on the far right with three additions made to the left over the years.
My husband and I were the only museum visitors on a bitterly cold, blustery March day, so we had the guide’s undivided attention. Because of the foul weather we focused our visit on these original farmstead buildings.
In the sod house, cows provided warmth so children often played with their toys and the family took their annual bathes in the cow stalls.
The kitchen was little more than a few pots, some wooden buckets and a stone fire pit.
To take advantage of the heat rising off the horses, the family slept above this stable room.
In the first more modern addition, there were five beds tucked into the eves of the attic room. Our guide said that it was not uncommon for family members to share beds and body heat.
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In one of the newer additions, the kitchen had no running water, but there was a waffle maker built into the cast iron stove (to the right of the tea kettle.)
Church at Arbaer Museum
The church can be rented out for various services.
Inside church at Arbaer Museum
Inside the quaint church.
sculpture butter arbaer museum iceland
Sculpture of a woman churning butter. I believe this work is by renowned Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson (1893-1982).


Learn more about the Arbaer Open Air Museum.

About Kristine K. Stevens

Book Cover200Kristine is the author of "If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It Isn't Big Enough: A Solo Journey Around the World." This nonfiction book tells the story of how she sold her house, quit her job and traveled around the world.

Kirkus Book Review: "... Stevens makes a friendly, relatable narrator ... plenty of colorful stories to make this an enjoyable, inspiring read... An often sweet memoir about finding oneself in many different places."

Next travel book to spotlight Iceland

25817249396_f6c787ef9f_z Kristine broke free from a desk job once again, and this time ended up volunteering in the far corners of Iceland!

Details about the release of this book will be posted on Facebook.