Luigi Micheletti Award

Luigi Micheletti Award 2004 Winner
Herring Era Museum - Siglufjörður (Iceland)

The Herring Era Museum is officially recognised as a museum specialising in the history of the herring fisheries in Iceland. It may even be the only museum of its kind in the world. The oldest museum building is Róaldsbrakki, built as a Norwegian herring station in 1907 and in itself a grand monument to Norwegian influence in the Icelandic herring fishery.

The museum includes an exhibition on fish-salting in Iceland and the history of herring fisheries elsewhere in Europe, and another focussing on Norwegian influence on the Icelandic herring industry. The old building has largely been left as it was when it housed dozens of girls working in the herring fishery in the summer season, and an atmosphere of olden times prevails. In summer, the goldrush-like atmosphere of the ‘Herring Era’ is recreated on the museum dock, as locals dressed in period costume salt herring into barrels, sing and dance to accordion music. The museum in Róaldsbrakki opened in 1994, and 2000 it was the first winner of the Icelandic Museum Award.

Grána, a herring meal and oil factory of the 1930s shows how men and machines processed herring into meal and oil, which was an important industry for the economy of Iceland. The opening of Grána in 2003 was the main reason for the Iceland Museum Council’s first nomination of an Icelandic museum to the European Museum of the Year contest.
The Boat House recreates the town’s bustling harbour of the 1950s, with many old fishing boats at the dock. It was opened on 29 June 2004 by His Royal Highness Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway. Since then the Herring Era Museum is Iceland’s largest maritime museum.

Grána and the Boat House are multifunctional cultural venues, hosting Siglufjörður’s annual Folk Music Festival and a wide range of musical events and lectures, as well as including art gallery space.


The impact of the Luigi Micheletti Award
The impact and importance of the Micheletti Prize for the Herring Era Museum is very clear. First and foremost it is a huge honour for this museum in a remote place “on the edge of the world”. The awarding of the Micheletti Prize in 2004 brought the museum welcome coverage in the Icelandic media, and in conjunction with the opening of the Boat House this led to a sharp rise in visitor numbers, from 6,000 in 2003 to 14,000 in 2004.
The Micheletti Prize has given a huge boost to the Herring Era Museum in the Icelandic cultural sphere; not least, the prize has been important to the people of Siglufjörður, and the many volunteers who have contributed to making the msueum what it is today.

Herring Era Museum
Herring Era Museum
Herring Era Museum
Herring Era Museum
Herring Era Museum

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