Icelandic Museum of Natural History

Icelandic Museum of Natural History

Office: Brynjólfsgata 5, IS-107, Reykjavík, Iceland (map).
Office opening hours: 9 am – 4 pm.
Phone: (+354) 577 1800
Email: nmsi@nmsi.is

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History (icel. Náttúruminjasafn Íslands) is the property of the Icelandic state, a public institution appertaining to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History operates under Icelandic Museum of Natural History Act no. 35/2007 and Museum Act no. 141/2011. The Icelandic Museum of Natural History is one of three Central Museums in Iceland along with The National Museum of Iceland and The National Gallery of Iceland. Each Central Museum is a leading institution at national level within its field, providing counsel to other museums and promoting cooperation between them. The Central Museums also develop a coherent museum policy within their respective fields.  

The primary role of the The Icelandic Museum of Natural History, as depicted in Act no. 35/2007, is to shed light on nature in Iceland in local and global context, and inform about natural history of the island, use of natural resources and nature conservation. Also, according to Act no. 141/2011, a principal function of The Icelandic Museum of Natural History is to promote conservation of cultural and natural heritage in Iceland and ensure sustainable use of it for future generations.

The Museum was established in 2007, but its roots lie way back to 1887–1889, when The Icelandic Natural History Society (icel. Hið íslenska náttúrufræðifélag) was founded. One of the main objectives of the Society, stated in its founding act, was, and still is, to put up an exhibition of Icelandic nature in the capital city, Reykjavík. 

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (icel. Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands) is a public institution appertaining to the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, and a close ally to The Icelandic Museum of Natural History. According to Act no. 35/2007, The Icelandic Institute of Natural History serves as a scientific backbone to The Icleandic Museum of Natural History, providing e.g. access to information-databases on Icelandic nature and assisting the Museum with exhibitions. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History is also an offspring of The Icelandic Natural History Society.

At present, two persons are positioned at The Icelandic Museum of Natural History; Dr. Hilmar J. Malmquist, Director General, and Álfheiður Ingadóttir, Editor of the journal Náttúrufræðingurinn (The Naturalist), published by The Museum in associaton with The Icelandic Natural History Society.

 

PUBLICATION

From volume 84, issue number 1., The Icelandic Museum of Natural History publishes the periodical The Naturalist (icel. Náttúrufræðingurinn) along with The Icelandic Natural History Society. The Naturalist has been published since 1931, with four issues in each volume. It is published in Icelandic, but summaries and text to figures and tables are in English.

Access to The Naturalist published for five years or more is free on the web at www.timarit.is, served by the National and University Library of Iceland.

Editor of the journal is Álfheiður Ingadóttir (BSc), situated at the Icelandic Museum of Natural History, Brynjólfsgata 5, IS-107, Reykjavík. For subscription and other information about the periocical contact the editor at (+354) 577 1802 and alfheidur@nmsi.is.

See also website of The Icelandic Natural History Society for more information about the society.

 

EXHIBITIONS

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History has so far neither owned its own exhibition facility nor run any permanent exhibition on Icelandic nature. In March 2013, Reykjavík city and the Minister of Education, Science and Culture at the time, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, signed an agreement on a new standing exhibition on Icleandic nature to be run by the Icelandic Museum of Natural History in the building Pearl, on top of the hill Öskjuhlíð, Reykjavík. The exhibition was allocated a budget of 3.5m Euro for start-up capital and was to be opened in year 2016–2017. However, the present government annulled the appropriation in late 2013 and had other financial priorities.

From late 2013 till December 2015, the Icelandic Museum of Natural History led negotiations between Reykjavík city and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, trying to find a way to put up its standing exhibition on nature in the Pearl. Unfortunately, all attempts have so far failed and in late December Reykjavík city ended the talks. Recently, early January 2016, Reykjavík city has advertised an open contest on a nature exhibition in the Pearl, asking for ideas of content of the exhibition and financial model on how to run it. Deadline is Feburary 22 2016.

The magnificent domeshaped Pearl was designed by architect Ingimundur Sveinsson (see WAM). The Pearl opened in 1991 and is located on the hilltop of Öskjuhlíð, close to the city center and overviewing the capital area. The building, a central structure with 6 levels reaching a heigth of 25.7 m, rests partially on six large storage tanks, five of them serving as a reserve for geothermal hot water for downtown Reykjavík. The central building is the property of Reykjavík city whereas the tanks are owned and run by Reykjavík Energy.

For more information about the Pearl building see this website here.

A cafeteria is run at level 4 in the Pearl building and a restaurant at level 5 and 6 (the topmost level). For more information about wining and dining in the „Pearl restaurant“ see their official website here. Also, a recent video was made by CCTV about the Pearl restaurant and building.

Icelandic History of Art – The Visual Cultural Heritage

In April 18 2015, The Icelandic Museum of Natural History along with five other Icelandic cultural institutions did open in the Culture House (icel. Safnahúsið) the exhibition Points of view, dealing with art in Iceland and visual cultural heritage in a broad sense. Besides The Icelandic Museum of Nautal History, the cultural institutions participating in the exhibiton are; The National Musuem of Iceland, The National Gallery of Iceland, The National Archieves of Iceland, National and University Library of Iceland, and The Árni Magnússon Institute fro Icelandic Studies.