Landmark galleries are great, but there’s a fascination and immediacy about the small, offbeat museums scattered across the Icelandic countryside
If museums exist to make us pay attention, they offer two stripes of novelty: the thing so rare we have never seen it; and the ostensibly common thing we have never really managed to consider. Iceland excels at both. Indeed, many of its exquisitely niche small museums manage them at the same time.
I mean, there’s an Icelandic style of mitten made with a thumb on each side. They’re out of fashion now, but a pair is kept on display at the Textile Museum in Blönduós. Because maybe the palm of your mitten is getting sweaty wet from rowing or slippery slick from fishing. Why commit time and expense to another pair of mittens when you can rotate the mitten so that the other thumb fits, and keep at it?