Icelandic Museum of Natural History

Office: Suðurlandsbraut 48, IS-108, Reykjavík, Iceland (map).
Office opening hours: 9 am – 4 pm.Phone: (+354) 577 1800




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 is one of three Central Museums in Iceland along with The National Museum of Iceland and The National Gallery of Iceland.

The primary role of the The Icelandic Museum of Natural History is to shed light on nature in Iceland in local and global context, inform about natural history of the island, use of natural resources and nature conservation. Also, a principal function of the Museum is to promote conservation of cultural and natural heritage in Iceland and ensure sustainable use of it for future generations. Research is run mainly in mediaevel natural history, natural moral pilosophy, paleobiology and evolutionary and freshwater ecology.

The Museum shares information and knowledge on nature by running exibitions, digital publication and in print, and by participation and presentation at conferences, symposiums and in the media.

The Icelandic Museum of Natural History 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, is to put up an exhibition of Icelandic nature for the gerneral public in the capital city, Reykjavík. The opening of the special exhibition Water in Icelandic Nature in the Pearl building 1. December 2018, is the first exibition designed and run by the Museum on its own. The Museum still lacks its own office and exhibition facilitities but measures are now being taken improve the situation.

Dr. Hilmar J. Malmquist was appointed director of the Icelandic Museum of Natural History in September 2013 and yet again 2018.



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 by the Society since 1931, but from 2014 in association with the Museum. There are 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 is free on the web with a three years delay at, served by the National and University Library of Iceland.

Editor of the journal is Álfheiður Ingadóttir (BSc), at the Icelandic Museum of Natural History. For subscription and other information about the periodical contact the editor at (+354) 577 1802 and

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



The Icelandic Museum of Natural History runs its own exhibition The Water in Icelandic Nature in the building Perlan, exhibiton center.


Water in Icelandic Nature – Icelandic Museum of Natural History exhibition in Perlan, Reykjavik

Water is the foundation of all life on Earth. Iceland is exceptionally rich in water and freshwater is amongst the nation´s most precious resource. There are diverse wetlands, numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls, and an abundance of groundwater and surface water – clean and wholesome, hot and cold. Given its latitude, young age and geographical isolation, Iceland has an unusually prolific aquatic biota, and some springs are home to globally unique examples of evolution.

This exhibition focuses on the different forms of water and its nature, the diversity of water resources, the aquatic biota, and the role of water in making and shaping of the land.

The exhibition is visual, lively and constantly evolving. Special emphasis is on interactive participation with the latest multimedia technology.

The exhibition is tailored to the needs of variety of visitors – individuals of different nationalities are welcomed, as are families and groups. Teachers take special care of school children. All school children in Iceland are invited to visit the exhibition to enjoy and learn about the wonders of water.

First and foremost, the exhibition is designed to inspire affection for the natural world and to inform about the importance of water as the foundation of all life and a vital prerequisite for future prosperous life in Iceland.