All the skeletons in the Húsavík Whale Museum are articulated by Icelandic institute of natural history‘s Þorvaldur Björnsson. His contribution began right in the early days of the museum when the collecting of the skeletons for the museum for processing. He went to a few road trips with Ásbjörn, for an example to the south coast to get a humpback skeleton and the jawbones of a spermwhale. The museum‘s spermwhale was towed to Húsavík from Steingrímsfjörður (in the Westfjords) on a ship called Moby Dick. They got a bulldozer in order to tow the whale to shore. The local rescue team helped to flense the sperm whale. The job was done in about two weeks. The bad smell smittened all over Húsavík, making Ásbjörn Björgvinsson one of the least popular man in town for the time being!

Þorvaldur Björnsson at work

Þorvaldur Björnsson cleans bones in the baiting sheds where the Whale Museum was located in 1998-2002

The history of Húsavík whale museum is quite interesting with regards to the contribution of volunteers which are nowadays mostly prohibited from the icelandic labor market. The museum‘s build up was reinforced with a great contribution by f.e. local sailors, secondary students and the public. One of the people who contributed the most number of hours was Jón Ásberg Salómonsson, a local carpenter and Húsavík‘s chief of fire service at the time. He and his wife Jóhanna worked with Ásbjörn on several projects for hundreds of hours. The Húsavík whale museum will be forever grateful to all of those who contributed their valuable time for the museum‘s build up. Without it, the whale museum would‘ve never existed.

Jón Ásberg Salómonsson

Jón Ásberg guides students from the local high school

The students of Húsavík’s high school came as a great help for the museum numerous times in the construction years

Children from the Húsavík elementary school paint whales on the top of the baiting sheds, just above the Húsavík Whale Museum

Until in the most recent years, tourism was a complete seasonal thing in North Iceland. Ásbjörn Björgvinsson, the museum‘s first manager got the frumlegt idea to install a mini putt course on the museum‘s floor in order to increase the attendance in the winter time. The course was 18 holes and had the advantage to be a little tricky for the golfers as the museum‘s floor is quite uneven. The course soon became very popular by members of the local golfclub. Events were held where individuals competed in every week. Seniors became regulars in the museum, arriving up to six times a week to play mini golf. The course eventually moved to another place in town as the arrival of the blue whale project prevented further use of the area for a recreation of this kind.

Two mini golf regulars in a TV interview.

The exterior look of the Húsavík Whale Museum in 2001-2018 was characterized by the art of japanese artist Namiyo Kubo. She‘s a good friend of Erich Hoyt, the whale researcher who was one of the lecturer of the whale watching conference in Keflavík 1995. Kubo came to Húsavík three summers in a row to paint the museum in a whale themed style. She received a help from some volunteers and didn‘t mind to activate people walking nearby in order to get the job done more quickly.

Namiyo Kubo

The „children‘s corner“ in the museum was designed and created by Sara Tobiasson who back then was a art student in Akureyri‘s school of art. The great contribution has through time been enjoyed by thousands of kids visiting the museum.

Sara Tobiasson

The large paintings in the background of the whale gallery were painted by Sigurður Hallmarsson (1929-2004). The larger painting which shows Víknafjöll mountains was painted in 2001-2002 but the smaller one which shows Bakkahöfði in Tjörnes peninsula was painted in 2004. The paintings are an astonishing achievement which represents the part of the year home of some of the whale species which are on display on the museum.

Sigurður Hallmarsson