This year marks the 150th anniversary that the first large group of Icelanders set sail to the west to make a new home in Canada. On October 21, 2023 a database entitled Following the Footsteps of Árni Magnússon in the New World will be formally opened where thousands of images of Icelandic manuscripts in Canada and the US will be made accessible for the first time. The website will be available in Icelandic and English. Katelin Marit Parsons, project director, will relate some of the countless fascinating stories hidden away in these invaluable manuscripts about Iceland’s immigrants to North America. Several of the students working on the project will speak about their work including Ryan Johnson, Guðrún Brjánsdóttir and Brynjarr Þór Eyjólfsson. Örn Arnar, Honorary Consul General of Iceland in Minneapolis, will also be present to discuss his experience of the cultural values of Iceland’s immigrants to North America. Last but not least, Gísli Sigurðsson will inform us about the potential damage and risks that threaten cultural heritage if it is not cared for in a timely manner.
Under the auspices of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Following the Footsteps of Árni Magnússon in the New World is an exciting project that began in 2015. The objective is to accumulate digital images of manuscripts, letters and other written documents in Icelandic located in Canada and the US. The project includes manuscripts and records owned privately as well as museum holdings across North America that pertain to the history of Iceland’s immigrants to North America.