Visitors to this expensive but worthwhile museum, founded in 2006, strap on headphones for two 30-minute audio exhibits, one on the first 60 years of Icelandic settlement (around 870-930) and the other on Egils Saga. The settlement exhibit is a basic primer and may feel a bit remedial to those well-versed in the subject. Interactive and multimedia features, such as a video of a re-created Viking ship, make the educational process painless. The exhibit's only serious flaw is that folkloric narratives handed down over the centuries are often presented as established fact, blurring the line between history and fable.
Egils Saga is among the six most celebrated literary achievements of medieval Iceland. Egil is a volatile and ambiguous character, capable of masterful poetry and merciless barbarity. While Njáls Saga has more passages illustrative of everyday life in 10th-century Iceland, Egils Saga has every dramatic hallmark, from pagan sorcery to bitter love triangles to gory battle scenes featuring outlaws and berserkers. The exhibit ably conveys the strangeness, humor, and versification of the story. Be warned, however, that the installations revel in horror and may traumatize young children. The life-size witch queen of Norway, rocking and murmuring over a fire, with a decomposed beast's head impaled on a pole, could give even grownups nightmares.