In 1909, Einar Jónsson offered all of his works as a gift to the Icelandic people on the condition that a museum would be built to house them.
This gift was not accepted by the Icelandic Parliament until 1914, however. The Parliament contributed 10,000 krona to the construction of the museum, while a national collection yielded 20,000 krona in private donations. It can be safely said that Icelanders have from the very beginning shown a special appreciation for the art of their country’s first sculptor and had fully realised the value of his gift to the nation.
Einar Jónsson chose to locate the museum on the top of Skólavörðuhæð, “a desolate hill on the outskirts of town,” as he puts it in his autobiography. The museum was the first building to be constructed on the top of the hill and Einar realised what possibilities this location, the highest in town, offered. Like some of his contemporaries, he dreamt of Skólavörðuhæð becoming the political and cultural Acropolis of an independent Iceland. The museum was built according to a plan by the artist and it may thus be said that the museum building constitutes his biggest sculpture. The building served as his studio, as the gallery for his works and even as his home.