Dwelling with trauma: volcanic eruption and community transformation
Sigurjon Hafsteinsson (University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
In this paper I talk about trauma that a volcanic eruption in 1973 has created for visitors from the community of Westman Island (Iceland), with particular attention to how a "museum of memories" (Eldheimar) evokes difficulties memories of the eruption and its consequences for community dwelling.
Paper long abstract:
In May, 2014, a volcano museum of remembrance or Eldheimar opened its door for the first time. The museum is a "collection of memories" about the volcanic eruption in Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar ), Iceland, in 1973. The entire population of over 5000 people were evacuated from the island and transported to the mainland. The eruption lasted for over five months and had drastic consequences for the community. Quarter of the community housing was buried under volcanic material and destroyed. After the eruption large portion of the inhabitant did not return to the community. While Eldheimar is part of making Westman Islands a tourist attraction and therefore, a heritage site of a natural disaster, the museum plays a role in acknowledging traumatic memories and experiences of survivors and the community inhabitants. In this paper I talk about the trauma that the eruption has created for visitors from the community, with particular attention to how the museum evokes difficulties memories of the eruption and its consequences for community dwelling.
Dis)comforts of home: historical and cultural perspectives