'Pure Iceland' exhibition opens at the Science Museum
On 20 January 2006 the Science Museum opened Pure Iceland, a new exhibition exploring the peculiar geography and weather conditions of Iceland and how the country is using its natural resources to power itself and protect the environment.
Pure Iceland looks at Iceland’s current use of its natural resources to provide cheap, clean energy to all Icelandic homes and industry. Visitors will also see Iceland’s early moves to become the world’s first hydrogen economy – increasingly using non-polluting hydrogen instead of fossil fuels.
There are few objects, display panels or exhibition captions. Instead, the whole exhibition is presented as an experience in which the atmosphere of Iceland will be conjured though projection and sound. The exhibition is full of stories about Iceland, its energy resources, volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, avalanches and landslides, all presented by a renowned company of Icelandic actors using the traditional saga storytelling against a gigantic backdrop of mud volcanoes, lava cones and sea.
Iceland is about a third of the size of France, with 11% of the country covered in glacier ice, providing flowing water in abundance. The country sits on two North Atlantic tectonic plates and earthquakes are common as the plates move. It is 18-20 million years old, one of the youngest landmasses of its size in the world. The temperature fluctuates frequently from –5C to + 15C, causing many incidents of icing, high winds, meltwater floods, landslides and snow avalanches. On average one of Iceland’s volcanoes erupts every four years. It is a country where natural disasters are common.
While already relying on clean energy in the form of hydroelectric and geothermal power Iceland is now attempting to replace the use of fossil fuel with hydrogen-based fuels. Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier and can be produced from water with renewable energy.
Heather Mayfield, Deputy Head of the Science Museum, said: “We are excited to be taking a step away from our usual exhibition presentation methods. Pure Iceland will appeal to the senses of our visitors and will attempt to give them at least a little idea of the life, geography and geological conditions that exist in the country. The quality, creativity and skills of the Vesturport Theatre Company will bring the exhibition’s many stories to life.”
Icelandic Ambassador, Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson said “While some nations might envy Iceland its already existing clean energy we are making steady progress towards the practical use of hydrogen fuel in our daily lives. Not only is hydrogen a clean fuel, it can be produced in an environmentally safe way by separating the hydrogen and oxygen in water using a strong electric current. And since Iceland is rich in water this is an effective process for it to undertake.”
There is also a series of adult and family events to accompany the exhibition including story telling for children and, at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre, events exploring Iceland’s natural resources, power plants and the way climate change is affecting the country.
Pure Iceland website www.pureiceland.org.uk
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
General Enquiries: 0870 870 4868
Opening Times: Monday - Sunday 10am - 6pm
Exhibition free of charge to all visitors
Nearest Tube Station: South Kensington