Hafnarborg – the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Art was founded in 1983, becoming the home of the town’s art collection. Chemist Sverrir Magnússon and his wife Ingibjörg Sigurjónsdóttir, who was also a pharmacist, laid the foundations of the museum and its collection with the donation of their home and art collection to the town. On June 1st 1983, they officially presented Hafnarfjörður with a gift certificate for both the building at Strandgata 34 and an extensive collection of artwork and books. Guðjón Samúelsson originally designed the building for the chemist Sören Kampmann, who lived in the house and ran his business there from 1921. Sverrir Magnússon then took over in 1947, managing Hafnarfjarðar Apótek until 1984.
The gift certificate decreed that the house should be a place for cultural activities, enhancing the town’s art and culture life, by housing an art museum, exhibition rooms and an artist residency, in addition to providing a venue for concerts. Hafnarborg – the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Art, was formally inaugurated on May 21st 1988. By that time, an extension had been added to the building, designed by architect Ingimar H. Ingimarsson.
The mission of Hafnarborg – the Hafnarfjörður Centre of Culture and Fine Art is to maintain dynamic and ambitious cultural functions, thereby creating grounds for diverse cultural life in the town. Hafnarborg therefore preserves Hafnarfjörður’s art collection, being responsible for research into and exhibitions of said collection for the benefit of the town’s guests and residents, as well as ensuring that this heritage continues to be a prominent part of Icelandic culture and art history. In addition, Hafnarborg runs an international artist-in-residence programme.
Hafnarborg operates in accordance with the charter and cultural policy of Hafnarfjörður, Icelandic museum laws, and the protocol of ICOM – the International Council of Museums.
Hafnarborg’s programme should be characterised by quality and resolve, as well as making a potent contribution to the positive image of the town and the identity of its residents.
Exhibitions and events should reflect contemporary trends and movements, promoting significant works and happenings at each given time.
Art events should be aptly promoted and visits to Hafnarborg should ideally be a routine part of the life of the locals of the town, where they may enjoy art, education, entertainment, and interesting experiences of art.
Focused museum education should reach students of all levels of education and visits to Hafnarborg should be an appealing option that advances progress in school activities.
Hafnarborg should maintain a dynamic collaboration with artists, museums, and other cultural institutions in Iceland and abroad.
The exhibition programme of Hafnarborg is diverse, as the museum presents 8–10 art exhibitions each year, displaying works significant to Icelandic art history, from treasured artwork by the pioneers of Icelandic art to experimental work by contemporary artists. Hafnarborg hosts regular lectures and seminars related to the museum’s exhibitions and the museum strives to open a converstation between visitors, artists and curators, in order to give insight into the exhibitions, the collection and the museum’s operation. There are also regular workshops and guided tours available for children and families. In addition, the museum plays host to various concerts throughout the year, such as the Midday and Afternoon Concert Series in the wintertime, Phonemes in spring and autumn, featuring an ambitious programme of contemporary compositions, as well as the Hafnarborg Songfest in the summer.
Unnur Mjöll S. Leifsdóttir
Exhibition and Collection Manager
Board of Hafnarborg
Pétur Gautur Svavarsson
Margrét Hildur Guðmundsdóttir
Art Council of Hafnarborg
Erling T. V. Klingenberg
Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir