The Eldheimar Volcano Museum is located on the very volcano where the Heimaey disaster occurred nearly forty years ago. Visitors can explore the exhibit and experience the the stories of those who fled to the Iceland mainland, those who stayed to protect their homes and those who returned to the island to rebuild.
The exhibit is designed with minimal text, instead utilizing an audio-guide so visitors can more thoroughly experience the events that transpired. Icelandic design company Gagarin was given the freedom to design and produce four interactive exhibits, which have visitors sifting through debris like archaeologists or assembling a puzzle to represent the “rebuilding” phase of Heimaey.
In fact, the entire exhibit encourages visitors to be more than just passive observers. Gagarin designed the space for museum-goers to be “protagonist explorers.” Visitors are encouraged to find their own narrative amidst the memories encapsulated in the exhibit. The exhibit is designed to explore four key messages:
What was it like to dig out a home that has been under ash for 40 years?
How did the island change geographically as a result of the eruption?
The massive cleanup effort
Of the 336 submissions for the SEGD (The Society for Experential Graphic Design) Award, only six were chosen to receive the highest Honor Award. One of the SEGD jurors stated the Eldheimar exhibit was, “A hauntingly beautiful experience that communicates the wrath of Mother Nature through delightfully simple interactions. The dark, ashy environment gives way to playful experiences that erupt with emotion without sacrificing engagement.”
Click here to watch a video about the new interactive exhibit.