Eiríksstaðir was the homestead of Eiríkr Þorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red. His son, Leif Eriksson, was born there. Leif Eriksson is the first known European discoverer of America.
There have been a number of archaeological excavations, starting in the 1890s, at what is thought to be the original farm. This revealed two buildings radiocarbon-dated to the 9th-10th centuries.
The main longhouse contained a central fire pit and rows of stones which indicated that people sat along the walls. After his investigation in 1895, Þorsteinn Erlingsson, who excavated it, thought there had been an attached bake-house at the rear, however, this was later shown to be stones from a landslide. The walls were turf set on stone foundations which had been repaired on the south side.
The building was simple in construction and may not have been occupied for long. A pit house was discovered next to the main building. The finds included spindle-whorls carved from Norwegian stone, so this may have been a women's workroom. (Previous interpretations had been a bath house, sauna, kitchen or smokery.)
The museum is a reconstruction based on the results of the excavations, using driftwood and replica tools. It is located about 100m from the excavation site. The museum opened in 2000 and was part of the celebrations of the thousand-year anniversary of the discovery of Vinland (North America).
There is living history in the reconstruction. All the tools and objects at the site are reconstructions based on Viking objects found in excavated sites, including the clothing of the demonstrators.