The extensive and interesting history of the Westman Islands can be explored at Sagnheimar
There are a few permanent exhibits, along with smaller temporary ones and various events when the occasion arises.
A large section of the museum contains the harbour and dock area where fishing and processing the catches of the islanders are portrayed in a lively manner.
The annual Festival in the Westman Islands was first held in 1874 and in this exhibit, visitors are offered a seat in a traditional Festival-tent.
At an area for temporary exhibits, the sports history of the Westman Islands is portrayed. It is often said that the spirit of the islanders swings with the ups and downs of IBV, the local sports team.
Westman Islands is the only place in Iceland where a local army has been established. That part of the history is portrayed at an exhibit in the museum.
Women’s history is also one of the permanent exhibits. There, visitors can learn about the vast contribution of women to the society throughout the ages in the Westman Islands.
Mormons also have their history displayed at the museum. The first Icelandic Mormon missionaries worked in the Westman Islands and between 1854 and 1914, around 200 islanders emigrated to America in search for a better life.
The Algerian Pirate Raid is portrayed at a permanent exhibit. It took place in 1627 when 300 sea pirates beached in Heimaey and captured 242 islanders who they then sold as slaves in Algeria. This part of history is captured in a large caricature-style mural of sequential panels. The pirate cave provides fun for the children.
In the early hours of January 23rd 1973, the volcano Eldfell erupted in Heimaey and nearly the whole population of 5,300 had to be evacuated immediately to the mainland. That fateful night and the following days are chronicled in an array of photos in a permanent exhibit.