In December 2020, a landslide hit the old harbor of Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. Since the devastating landslide occurred, the town has remained resilient in their efforts to rebuild and restore historical buildings that were damaged by the natural event. Thankfully, there were no casualties.
The Technical Museum of East Iceland was one of the hardest hit landmarks. The museum’s main focus is on the influx of modern times around 1880 to 1950. Technical innovations in areas such as mechanics, electricity, communications, shipbuilding, commerce and architecture are interlaced with changes in lifestyle in Seyðisfjörður and in Iceland in general. The exhibitions in the old mechanical workshop and the telegraph station seek to recreate the atmosphere of the times they portray. Part of the exhibition, offices, archive, collection storage, an artisanal printing workshop and a traditional carpentry workshop have been lost under the rubble.
Now, the museum’s leaders are focused on recovering the belongings of the museum and on finding an alternative storage to clean, organize and process everything that can be salvaged.
Since rehabilitation efforts began, many items of the collection that have been scattered around the debris have been recovered. Though it will require around five months to go over the collection that has been recovered, while organizing, cleaning, sorting and registering, it is a positive sign that history can be rebuilt.
Part of the collection that was not destroyed will be moved to a temporary location and from there, the new museum will be born. This new home for the collection will follow the same principles and goals of the museum in the past, which will be to share the heritage of this particular town. Aside from the exhibition, the museum had a fully functioning print shop, which the staff aims to rebuild.
The annual Smiðjuhátið was the soul of this museum with many activities offered to the public in hands on practice to keep the heritage that this museum represents alive. This was not merely a museum, but a collection of functioning workshops offered to artists, local and national art institutions and schools. It is therefore very important for Tækniminjasafn Austurlands to keep this spirit alive and improve to the maximum possibilities in the new premises.
There is a donation fund to help the museum in its rebuilding and recovering efforts – click here to donate. To learn more about the Technical Museum of East Iceland, click here.
Featured Image Credit: https://old.visitseydisfjordur.com/.