Thursday, September 27, 2007

Waking in Hofsos

Friday, September 7th
Today we woke late to find ourselves in Hofsos. The bed was comfortable and we felt rested so it was time to do some exploring.
I once told Hubby that I could live in a museum and in Hofsos I fulfilled this dream. Well, not really but I was surrounded by three - museums that is.
The pamphlet states: "The Emigration Center [in Hofsos] was founded in 1996 to commemorate the Icelandic emigrants to North America and promote contact between their descendants and the people of Iceland. It now offers exhibits in three buildings, a genealogy service, library and more."
I spent hours pouring over the exhibits. I could not get enough. The information I gathered helped me to paint a picture: who was my great grandfather? what was his life like? why did he come to Canada?
Thankfully Hubby and I were not alone in our exploration we were accompanied by a very knowledgeable guild. He brought the people and time to life for us. For this and so much more we say, "Takk fyrir, Fred"
The museums can be seen in the above picture. They are the white building closest to us in the picture, the large black building and the smaller black building behind it. I visited them all.
The smaller black building contains an exhibit on what life was like for the Icelandic immigrates in North Dakota. I left this building close to tears. I felt so very close to Grandpa and Grandma. No they never did live in North Dakota and yet in so many of the stories I heard their voice.
The white building contains an exhibit on the immigration: why they left? when they left? what it was like on the ship. Basically, it was no luxury cruise. You need to visit this museum to hear their saga.
The large black building contains an exhibit on the early photoghrapher pioneers.
I share this quote from the exhibit: "Vast expanses of ocean and the North American continent separated Icelandic emigrants from those who remained in Iceland. In most cases the journey back was unthinkable and they would never again see their loved ones in this life. Letters, however, occasionally made the long journey to Iceland, and through the miracle of photography the endless miles could be bridged - if only in spirit."
I was struck by how skillfully the tale was recounted. I was told that the exhibit was authored by Nelson Gerrard.
I left feeling proud of the courage, dedication and faith demonstrated by my forefathers. I also made a mental note not to complain about the amount of space on the airplane. : )


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