Skip to the content

Willis jeep - An archaeologist's (and President's) vehicle of choice

The artifact of the week is no. 1990-31. It is on exhibition in the Transport Museum at Skógar, on loan from the National Museum of Iceland. It is a Willys jeep made in the United States, in 1946. It was bought new by Kristján Eldjárn, Director General of the National Museum and later President of Iceland (1968-1980). He paid 9.000 ISK for it, using money he got paid for writing an index of characters for an edition of the Saga of the Sturlungar. However, he got permission to buy the car on the condition that it be used in part for the benefit of the National Museum.
The jeep was later owned by Kristján‘s brother, Hjörtur, a farmer in Svarfaðadalur. Kristján‘s son Ingólfur had the jeep restored and gifted it to the National Museum. The car is originally a convertible with a canvas top but a hardtop was added early on.
Willys jeeps were imported to Iceland in considerable numbers after the Second World War. They were locally known as „agriculture jeeps“ as that was the field they were used in the most. They could even be outfitted specially for haymaking. They were a significant step towards mechanizing agriculture in the countryside. The Willys jeeps were similar to those manufactured by Ford for military use, solidly built and used in areas with bad or no road systems. The first such jeeps in Iceland were bought by countryside doctors in remote areas and made winter travel significantly easier.

Guided tours

Guided tours are available upon reservation in English, German and Icelandic. Sometimes there is the opportunity to have guided tours in French, Spanish, Norwegian and Danish.

Tour times are from opening time up to 1 hour before closing time.

For group reservations and guided tours please email or call +354 487 8845.