In 2001, an archaeological excavation in Aðalstræti led to the discovery of an ancient longhouse dating from around 871 AD (plus or minus two years.) This longhouse is believed to be one of the first houses built in Reykjavík. The decision was made to open a museum on the site and preserve the remains for generations to come and in the meantime enlighten the public about this cultural heritage. The exhibition, entitled ‘The Settlement Exhibition,’ opened in 2006.
Extensive research was done to make the exhibition as educational as possible and the result is quite impressive. The newest multimedia technology is used to shed light on the way the early settlers lived and worked during the Viking-ages, why the settlers chose to settle in Reykjavík of all places, and how they lived and spread around. Several items found at archaeological sites in the centre are displayed with the ancient longhouse ruins as a centrepiece. The 3D models, touch screens and videos add a whole lot of fun to the experience and you can even view on a large TV screen how the longhouse was most likely constructed. The newest addition to the museum is a recently opened exhibition that explains the preservation of the longhouse site.
Reykjavik 871±2 is part of the Reykjavík City Museum and is aimed to preserve the country’s cultural heritage. In 2006, the museum won the NODEM Award for the Best Design of Digital Experiences in Museums in the Nordic countries and won the Icelandic Museum Award the same year. Reykjavík City Museum is also nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award 2008 for the new Settlement Exhibition.
The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00