curator, Skogar Museum, Iceland

Margaret  Hyde

Ulverstone, Australia

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Artist's Description

1002 viewings on 16 April, 2016.

Featured in “Men at Work” group

Pordur Tomasson, curator of the Skogar Museum, Iceland, guided us through the buildings and told us the history of the Icelandic people. A large quantity of the artifacts are those found by Tomasson himself in an around the property on which he lived. A fascinating collection covering utensils for cooking, fishing horseriding, as well as boats and furniture. A truly dedicated man.

The Skogar Museum which opened on 1 December, 1909 and was originally housed in the basement of the Skogar Regional School. Founded on the initiative of Pordur Tomasson, the curator of the museum since 1959, Skogar Museum is the local museum for the counties of Rangavallasysia and west Skaftafellissysia.

In 1952 the eight-oared fishing-boat, Petursey, was donated to the museum by businessman Jon Halldorsson of Sudur-Vik. The museum clearly needed its own building which was constructed in 1955 to house the boat and far more.

Pordur Tomasson continued to collect more and more objects and soon the museum’s space filled up. Once the museum had acquired its own facilities work commenced on reconstruction of historic buildings on the site. In 1968 the first building was moved to Skogar and reconstructed, this was a storehouse from Varmahlia under the Eyjafjoll mountains, built by Pordur’s great-grandfather around 1840. This was soon followed by a badstofa (commual room where the household slept, ate and worked), kitchen with open hearth, parlour and pantry.

Many more buildings were gradually added to the collection, most recently a church and a schoolhouse.All the buildings on the museum site have been brought from the two counties the museum represents. In 1990 an extension to the museum building was constructed, the fishing-boat was moved into the new building providing space for the museum’s collection to be presented in separate sections, fisheries, agriculture, handcrafts etc. The basement of the new building houses the county archives.

On July 20 2002 a Transport Museum was opened in a large building erected on the site focusing on transport and technology as well as the role of the horse and ferries in overland transport in the days before roads and bridges. One section of the exhibition is devoted to saddler Markus Jonsson of Borgareyrar (d. 1888).

After the secondary school at Skogar closed down in 1999, the museum took over responsibility for the school buildings, where a hotel operates in summer, and tourist facilities all year.

Artwork Comments

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