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#8 Húsavík Whale Museum

My name is Simon Madine and I would like to adopt the Húsavík Whale Museum.

Húsavík Whale Museum (Photograph by Jenni Fuchs)


Tell us a bit more about yourself

I’m a senior web developer for Nokia in Berlin, who until recently was Digital Media Technical Manager at National Museums Scotland. I love building cool digital toys like the interactive periodic table The Elementals. I’m also the tech side of Museum140. Online, I tend to go by the name @thingsinjars.

Tell us a bit more about your adopted museum
Húsavík has become a centre for whale watching in Iceland. Hvalasafnið á Húsavík, or the Húsavík Whale Museum, as you could probably guess, focuses on whales and aims to provide an increased understanding of them and their ecosystems to the many visitors who come to Húsavík for whale-watching tours. After starting out as a single exhibition in 1997, its popularity led to the development of a full museum, which opened in 2002. The museum is open from May to September, and at other times by arrangement. Entrance is 1250 ISK for adults (just under £7 at the current exchange rate), with discounts for children and groups. But you can easily spend two hours there so it’s worth it.

Why have you chosen to adopt this museum?
Although the Whale Museum has been situated in Húsavík longer, the (in)famous Icelandic Phallological Museum relocated there in 2004 and, due to its subject matter, attracts a lot more international interest. As a result, if you’re a tourist in Húsavík with free time before a whale-watching tour, the chances are, you’ll want to see the ‘penis museum’ rather than the whale museum. I’ve chosen to adopt this museum because I think it deserves just as much attention as its neighbour. On top of that, it has a narwal skeleton and that’s just cool.

Why would you recommend people visit?
It’s a fascinating collection of exhibits, documentary film footage, things to touch and other hands-on interactives. On top of that, they also have a special area for children, which is made to look like a submarine, with lots of fun things to do. The museum sets you up perfectly for an afternoon of whale-watching. If you visit the museum before a tour, you’ll gain a lot more insight into the subject and get much more out of your trip, as we found. Even if you’re not planning to go whale-watching, this fascinating museum is not one you should miss. And don’t forget, it has a narwal!

How would you sum up your museum in three words?
Interesting aquatic mammals

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  • Olga Baird

    At the ICOM CECA conference in Reykjavik in 2009, I got a very clear idea about the neighbour of the Whale Museum, that is why I want to express my solidarity with Simon Madine and support his feeling that whales and natural environment deserve not only as much attention, as its neighbour, but much more!