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Encounters at the National Museum of Iceland

Encounters at the National Museum of Iceland

A new exhibition, Encounters, opened at the National Museum of Iceland on 31 January 2009. In the years 2001-2005 archaeological excavations on several historical locations in Iceland were carried out with a special financial support from the Iceland Millennium fund. This fund was founded in the year 2000, celebrating 1000 years of Christianity in Iceland. Some of the results can be viewed at the exhibition. The name Encounters is supposed to remind us that the exhibition is a meeting between past and present; historical artefacts being hidden in the ground for hundreds of years are rediscovered and make a new appearance.
The exhibition shows results from excavations at some of the most renowned historical sites in Iceland, such as Hólar and Skálholt, some of Iceland most important places in earlier ages. There are also artefacts which were found in an excavation at the old monasteries of Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Skriða, and in four different church foundations at Reykholt. Texts and multi-media shows tell us about these places, the artefacts and the most important results of the excavations. Together with the texts that present historical facts there are also texts written by a well known Icelandic writer, Pétur Gunnarsson. Those texts give the visitor deeper and different insight of the ideology of the middle ages.
We have made an effort to make the exhibition accessible for all age groups. Children can look through a peak hole on small cabinets on the walls and see various artefacts and guess on their origin and usage. Children are also welcomed to play with a model presenting the medieval port at Gásir. They can stamp their names with stamps with gothic letters. There are question games and work sheets available for families and school groups. Online games can be accessed on the webpage of the exhibition.
A great emphasis has also been put on good accessibility for the physically disabled. The exhibition is easily accessible in a wheelchair and the texts are placed in a suitable height on the walls. On the sides of the showcases there are texts on films. Those texts are too high to be seen from a wheelchair, but the texts are also available in a brochure that can be borrowed at the information des. Audio-guides (pickup from Dataton) are also available. The texts in the audio guide can also be found in a brochure, free of charge, and on the website of the exhibition. More information on the excavation and the exhibition can be found at the website: www.natmus.is/encounters

Bryndís Sverrisdóttir,
Project manager of Encounters.



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