Arbaer was an established farm well into the 20th century, and the museum opened there in 1957. Arbaer is now an open air museum with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from central Reykjavik.
During the summer the museum holds various exhibitions, showing the life and work of past generations. Several houses dating from the 19th century have been furnished and various workshops can be seen, such as hay-making, working with wool and traditional handicrafts.
Arbaer Museums puts a great emphasis on service to schools and students. Special tours are offered to those groups which are tailored to their need. Visits by school groups can be arranged all year round and is free of charge.
Turf houses in Iceland In the 19th century most farmers in Iceland lived in turf houses, like this. These houses were usually to storey high. The animals lived on the first floor and the farmers family on the second. This way the animals would keep the family warm in the wintertime.
A young man welcomed us and showed us around the museum.
First he showed us how people kept their animals in the old days Snuli looking at tacks
The milking seat Cow skull like this was used as a chair when the farmer was milking the cows, twice per day, in the morning and in the afternoon.
Stove to cook The housewifes cooked on a stove like this. She had to wake up earlier than everybody else to fire up. She used sheep dung to fire up.
The lamp in the old days The housewife also had to put fish oil to all of the lamps in the house in the morning. They didn’t have any electricity in the old days.
Sitting room On the second floor the people lived and slept. In the winter time they stayed there most of their time. They did a lot of hand craft there. They worked with wool. They had to make band from the wool.
Shoes in those days The women sew the shoes. Some times one pair of shoes only lasted for a day. The shoes were made from cows skin. They knit togs (bottom of the shoe) to put into it.
Entertainment in those days While the grown-ups were working they told the children stories and adventures about giant trolls, elfs and tought them lots of songs.
Food was served in ashes Food was served in ash like this. Everybody had their own ash. It was often the father who made a beautiful ash for the hole family.
Toys in those days In the old days children played together outside. However they had to start working at the farm with their parents very young. So they didn’t have much time to play arond. They used bones as toys. They didn’t have toys like children have to day.
Cristmas in those days In those days there weren’t any pinetrees in Iceland. Therefor they had to make their own Christmastrees. They were made from wood and heath with moss and branches for decuration. They also put candles on it.
Gifts on Christmas Children didn’t get many gifts on Christmas like nowadays. Sometimes they got new shoes and clothes. Most of them got candles like these.
Smoked lamb On Christmas everybody got good food. Smoked lamb like this was very popular food on Christmas.
Milk was kept in special milkcontainers Snulli would like to have some milk before he goes home. Sorry but there was no milk in it.
Time to go home Now it was time to go home. We had to be very careful in the old stairs.
The end We hope you have enjoyed this visit with us. We went home to our school much more enlightened about the old days.