The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum

Outside the museum one can look at sculptures and walk through the old garden.

Explore this fascinating museum just outside Akureyri

The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum was founded in 1995, and the museum collects and displays works by folk-, contemporary and outsider artists – who have an honest and direct connection to an original creative spirit; authentic, unspoiled and free. The core collection consists of thousands of artworks and sketches by more than 300 artists, dating from the mid­19th century to the present.

The museum’s exhibition space has ten separate galleries of various sizes, a total of 500 square metres of exhibition space. There are rotating exhibitions each year featuring works from the collection and visiting artists.

Exhibitions 2023. When creating his work, the artist Pálmi Kristinn Arngrímsson approached the primal human instinct with humilty and sensibility and used that inspiration in a unique manner.

This summer, until September 10th, the museum is presenting 12 new exhibitions featuring the works of artists and students. The emphasis is on fresh ideas and refined craftsmanship, including glassblowing, embroidery, silverwork, ceramics, photography, screen printing, and woodwork. One of the themes explored in 2023 is how visual art can help individuals cope with self-harm and contain it. Despite the seriousness of the content, the museum’s exhibitions are bright, colourful and accessible to all.

This summer, the museum showcases three visual artists whose lives were marked by great adversity in the Created from Collections exhibitions. In the Middle Room, there is a memorial exhibition featuring works by Pálmi Kristinn Arngrímsson (1930-2015) titled The Garden at Home, while the West Room presents In a Bright Room, a series of paintings by Hjálmar Stefánsson (1913-1989). In the East Room, there is another memorial exhibition of works by artist Nonni Ragnas (1951-2019) titled Love is a Lovely Game.

Exhibitions 2023. Nonni Ragnas never got the display his artwork in public, but he never gave up. He transformed his home in Reykjavík into an exhibition and dance space where no surface went untouched by his hand.

In the foyer and Flower Room, the exhibition Family and Friends show works by Guðjón R. Sigurðsson, Helgi Þórsson, students from Valsárskóla elementary school, and children from the Álfaborg nursery school in Svalbarðseyri.

Meanwhile, in the Doll Room, an exhibition features dolls and costumes from around the world and a collection of works by B. Sóley Pétursdóttir entitled Silenced – Never Again.

Exhibitions 2023. B. Sóley Pétursdóttir has created a powerful internal and external world with diverse and personal expression.

This year, the museum received a gift of 2,500 textile works collected by Jenný Karlsdóttir, which will be stored in a special department dedicated to her. Embroidery works from her collection are displayed in the exhibition Home Adornments as well as embroidery works and plates by Sísí Ingólfsdóttir.

This summer the museum also displays works of art by Stefán Tryggva- og Sigríðarson, Klemens Hannigan, Anna Hallin, Olga Bergmann, Hildur María Hansdóttir, Guðmundur Ármann and Brynhildur Þorgeirsdóttir.

The Icelandic Folk and Outsider Art Museum is located in North Iceland, near Svalbarðseyri, about 10 minutes’ drive eastwards from the town of Akureyri, on the opposite side of the fjord.


Exhibitions 2023. In his art the playful Helgi Þórsson works with absurdity and the surreal.

Exhibitions 2023. The children in the local nursery school display their work in the Flower Room.

Every year the museum displays a national costume. This year the museum shows faldbúningur – a fesetive national dress. Faldbúningur is the oldest type of national costume of Icelandic women.

Sculptures by Ragnar Bjarnason who are inspired by icelandic folklore and legends, greet people outside the Museum and also inside the entrance.

Safnasafnid might be the most flowery art museum in Iceland! there are over 80 flower-pots at the museum.

Exhibitions 2023. Guðjón R. Sigurðsson lived most of his life in Canada. In his seventies he returned to Iceland where he occupied his time carving and painting wooden statues.

The Doll Room is boasting dolls in national costumes from all over the world. There are 400 dolls on display.

Ásgeir G. Gunnlaugsson & Co. had a clothing and textile store in Reykjavík. Today the shop’s fixtures and fittings are used to frame exhibitions at the Museum relating to textile, needlework, and handcraft.


The museum library contains hundreds of books and an impressive amount of source material on visual arts, design, architecture, textile and crafts.

Exhibitions 2023. Sísí Ingólfsdóttir’s work takes on a dialogue with the emroidery from Jenný Karlsdóttir’s collection.

Exhibitions 2023. Hjálmar Stefánssons paintings are spontaneous and have no other model than the nature he knew and loved.