Sudurnes Science and Learning Center is also a museum that offers two exciting exhibitions. If you are interested in the Icelandic nature and wildlife, sea creatures and research related to the areas, the Sudurnes Science and Learning Center is a place you must visit! We are too close to the airport to miss, only 5 minutes by car.
Exhibitions are closed on national public holidays and during the winter.
Summer (May 1st – August 31st)
Monday – Friday: 10:00 to 16:00
Saturday and Sunday: 13:00 to 17:00
Winter (September 1st – April 30th)
Flexible opening hours can be arranged for groups (twenty persons or more) year round – please call (+354) 423-7555 or email us.
and touch various stuffed animals from the Icelandic wildlife and see live sea creatures. There is also a collection of plants and shells in addition to the only stuffed walrus in Iceland.In the nature gallery you can look at and touch various stuffed animals from the Icelandic wildlife and see live sea creatures. There is also a collection of plants and shells in addition to the only stuffed walrus in Iceland.
Attraction of the Poles
In the historical gallery you can visit the magnificent exhibition Attraction of the Poles on the work, life and death of the French medical doctor and polar scientist Jean-Baptiste Charcot. His research ship, Pourquoi-Pas?, was perished by the coast of Iceland in 1936. A model of the ship is part of the exhibition.
Who was Jean-Baptiste Charcot?
The famous French polar explorer dr. Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1867-1936) was one of the great explorers of Antarctic and Arctic waters at the beginning of last century. Other great names from that time were Amundsen, Scott, Nordenskjold and Peary.
At the beginning of the last century he planned and led two expeditions to the southern hemisphere and mapped large part of the coastline of Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula. He was the first French explorer to over-winter in Antarctic waters with his crew, first on the vessel Français (1903-1905) and later on the Pourquois pas? (1908-1910).
After the Second World War he planned and lead numerous multidisciplinary expeditions to Arctic waters, for instance to the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, Jan Mayen and Greenland.
The research vessel Pourquoi pas?
His most famous research vessel was the Pourquoi pas? (Why not?). The vessel had three laboratories and an excellent library. During the cruises of the vessel, the crew and the scientists onboard made numerous discoveries and sampled plants and animals for later studies. The expeditions are still considered very valuable in scientific content.
On the 16th of September 1936 Pourquoi pas? got unexpectedly into high storm off Reykjanes, SW Iceland, got carried with the wind ashore and perished on the skerry Hnokki in the inner part of Faxaflói, off Mýrar. In all 40 persons died; 23 were found dead and 17 were reported missing. Only one person survived.
Distinguished friend of Iceland
The Pourquoi pas? stopped frequently in Iceland on its way into the Arctic. Charcot had many friends in Iceland and he nourished this friendship until the end. The tragic news of the loss of the Pourquoi pas? were felt deeply by the Icelanders. When a memorial service was held in Reykjavík in honor of Charcot and his crew, every shop in the city closed. This is the only incidence in Iceland’s history this has happened.
Exhibition of rare items
The 25th of February 2007 an exhibition was opened at the Suðurnes University Research Centre, dealing with the life and work of this remarkable person. The magnificent climax of an early times research vessel has been reconstructed on the exhibition. A wealth of information on the life of Charcot is presented.
Among objects on display are remarkable items from the Pourquoi pas? which drifted ashore after the accident. Additionally a few painting and other items are on a display, which have not been shown earlier in Iceland.
These items have been borrowed from the Musée de la marine, Paris. CulturesFrance has taken care of the transport of these items to Iceland.
The grandchild of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Mrs. Anne-Marie Vallin-Charcot has additionally donated personal documents and items to the exhibition. Additionally, local museums have loaned numerous times in order to create a climax of a research vessel from the beginning of last century.
More information about Jean-Baptiste Charcot are available here.
Art exhibition: The Hidden World of the Ocean – The Light of the Seaweed Fairies
In the art gallery you can learn about the magical world of the ocean. The exhibition Hidden World of the Seaweed Fairies is an art and educational exhibition in Icelandic and English where scientific knowledge about the ocean is woven into the magical world of the seaweed fairies.
The seaweed fairies are raising awareness of the wondrous world of the ocean, its importance in Earth´s biosphere and the connection between mankind and nature.
The exhibition opened on World Water day, March 22nd 2015 and is dedicated to the memory of Guðmundur Páll Ólafsson (1941-2012), a known Icelandic writer, naturalist and environmentalist.
The exhibition is made possible by the artist Katrín Þorvaldsdóttir and Sudurnes Science and Learning Center. Katrín Þorvaldsdóttir and Eydís Mary Jónsdóttir are the exhibitions main designers. Katrín is internationally known for her puppets and masks and has worked with various theaters designing and making sets and costumes. For 30 years Katrín has been using seaweeds in her art making and she has sought her inspiration to the ocean wildlife. Eydís is an environmental geographer with special interest in seaweeds and coastal ecosystems. Júlíus Viggó Ólafsson, a gifted young musician of Sandgerði, composed the background music. Reynir Sveinsson, Sandgerði´s main man, handled all technical issues and Lúðvík Ásgeirsson, from Volcano design, is the exhibitions graphic designer.