Everyday Iceland

In a photo, Julz Vargas ’24 sits on a boulder near a waterfall in Iceland

Name: Julz Vargas ’24
Hometown: Los Angeles
Internship location: The Museum of Everyday Life in Ísafjörður, Iceland

What is the Museum of Everyday Life?

The museum celebrates the mundane parts of the everyday life of Iceland residents using visual anthropology. … We had a cinema that introduced the Icelandic ways of life through short films, one being an audio piece taken from a grandmother’s tape recorder in the ’80s. Or guests could explore other exhibits, all of which are interactive and use different forms of media to connect. You can try teriyaki lamb jerky and listen to its story on your phone, or unscrew a jar of fresh rhubarb to smell in the dark sensory lab. It is an unorthodox way to explore Iceland and strangers’ lives and memories. … What I really did, other than opening and actually setting up the museum every day, was connect with people from all over the world and help them learn about how Icelanders live, outside of what a Google search would tell someone. But you do really gain a sense of awe from the museum that you take back with you to your everyday life.

Do you have a favorite exhibit?

After working there every day, I grew to love our guest book. And while it’s not a traditional exhibit, it became its own. After guests had finished looking through the exhibits, they would spend time leaving a note or even just a signature. Some guests would spend a long time writing, others would browse through the book, too. But after seeing how guests would interact with each other, the museum, and me, seeing what they thought afterward was always a treat.

Favorite moments?

This one time I was about to go to sleep almost at 1 a.m., and I saw a rainbow outside of my window. So of course, I slipped on my house shoes and a coat over my pajamas to walk to the beach, which was just across the street from my house, and watched the sky turn pink and purple with a full rainbow overhead.

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