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Reykjavik Museum of Photography

Reykjavik Museum of Photography

About the museum
The Reykjavík Museum of Photography is Iceland's only autonomous photographic museum. Its role is to preserve photographs, glass plates, negatives and slides in such a way that the people of Reykjavík and visitors have optimum access to the museum's collection. The museum is also intended to collect and preserve Icelandic photographs, which shed light on the history of photography, catalogue, and exhibit its collection. The museum shall seek to acquire photographic archives, which reflect the Icelandic photographic heritage, and photographic material with relevance to Reykjavík.

The museum's objective is to present both historical and contemporary photography in an artistic, social and cultural context, and to nurture public and scholarly interest in photography and photographic culture.

The guiding principle of the Reykjavík Museum of Photography is that the museum will grow as a photographic museum in an international context, and awaken the widest possible interest in the cultural role of photography.

The Reykjavík Museum of Photography holds an average of three exhibitions each year, on the sixth floor of Grófarhús. The objective of such exhibitions is to present photographs from the museum's own collection and historical and contemporary photography, from Iceland and abroad. Exhibitions have included the works of Icelandic photographic pioneers Magnús Ólafsson, Guðmundur Ingólfsson and Leifur Þorsteinsson, as well as the worldrenowned Henri Cartier-Bresson, August Sander and Mary Ellen Mark. A number of group exhibitions have been held, such as the summer 2004 exhibition New Realities; Finnish Contemporary Photography.

The Reykjavík Museum of Photography seeks to collect photographs, objects and sources relating to the work of photographers, both professionals and amateurs, who have lived and worked in and around Reykjavík. It also seeks to collect and preserve photographs, objects and sources from the general public, such as photo albums and other items, which reflect photographic culture in the home.

The Museum attaches great importance to publications. In addition to catalogues published for every exhibition, two fine photographic books have been published, in Icelandic and English. Since 1998 the museum has held an annual lecture in memory of photographer Magnús Ólafsson; the lectures are given on 10 May each year (Magnús' birthday), then published the following year.

In June 2004 the Reykjavík Museum of Photography opened a new Photoweb, which now contains over 4,000 photographs in the museum's collection. The objective of opening the photoweb is to improve the museum's service to the public, and to bring to photographic history and the culture heritage to a wider public by providing direct access to the museum's photographs. See webaddress below.

Museum education is an important part of the museum's work. It is organised with the aim of promoting knowledge and understanding of the collection of both historical and contemporary photography. Museum education is of two kinds: on the one hand, presentation of the museum's work, and on the other, presentation of information on the current exhibition. An interactive museum ed ucation page is to be opened on the museum's website in the autumn of 2005.

Admission is free.


Grófarhús, Tryggvagata 15, 6th floor
101 Reykjavík Iceland
Tel. 563 1790
Fax. 563 1799