Reykjavík's Oldest House Reopens as Museum Skip to content

Reykjavík’s Oldest House Reopens as Museum

The oldest building in Reykjavík, Aðalstræti 10, was reopened as a museum and exhibition space on Saturday, Vísir reports. The city purchased the building last year from Minjavernd, a state-run organization charged with protecting buildings and grounds of historical importance, at a total cost of ISK 370 million [$3,641,732].

An iconic timber house with white windows, Aðalstræti 10 was built in 1762 as one of eight buildings constructed by national treasurer Skúli Magnússon (sometimes called “the father of Reykjavík”) to enhance the Icelandic economy with financial support from the Danish state. It was also the home of Geir Vídalín, the first bishop of Iceland, after the bishoprics of Skálholt and Hólar were united, from 1807 to 1823. Later, Jens Sigurðsson, rector of the higher education institution Lærði skólinn in Reykjavík (now MR) lived there from 1855 to 1868, as did his brother Jón Sigurðsson, Iceland’s independence hero, for a brief time. From 1926 until well into the 90s, it also served as a shop and then a restaurant called Fógetinn. Minjavernd purchased the building in 2005 and began extensive renovations.

Two exhibitions opened in Aðalstræti 10 today: the Reykjavík 1918 photo exhibition, which was collaboratively curated by the National Museum of Iceland and the Reykjavík City Museum, and an exhibition about turf houses in the capital. There are also various artifacts from the 18th and 19th century on display.

Read more about the history of Aðalstræti 10 (in English) here.

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