The Romanian Peasant Museum is part of the European family of Museums of Popular Art and Traditions. It is a national museum, under the Ministry of Culture’s patronage. In possession of an especially rich collection of objects, hosted in a Neo-Romanian style historical monument-building, our Museum developed a highly original museography honored in 1996 by receiving the EMYA – European Museum of the Year Award. The originality of the exhibiting style is continued in the Museum’s publications, in actions such as the Missionary Museum, the Village School, concerts, conferences and exhibition openings.
The history of The Romanian Peasant Museum begins in 1906, as a result of many personalities’ endeavours to found an autonomous museum of peasant art: The Museum of Ethnography, National Art, Decorative and Industrial Art. By 1941 the museum has moved to its new building, later to become an architectural monument. In the communist time the museum’s existence was rather agitated and its importance minimized by the regime. The museum, under the present name and form, was founded on the 5th of February 1990.
The building is an illustration of the Neo-Romanian style, inspired from the Brancovean tradition, following the structure of the monastic buildings. It’s construction has begun in 1912, under the regency of King Carol I. The apparent red brick walls, the large windows joining one another under arches, the columns of the loggia, as well as the hand-rail, the carved-in elements and the elegant silhouette of the central tower with its top balcony recalling the bell-towers of old monasteries, bestow upon this building the well-pondered sumptuousness of a real palace of the arts.
Museum’s collections. The Romanian Peasant Museum owns the richest collection of peasant objects, at present. The almost 90,000 pieces that are part of its patrimony are as many witnesses to the village spirituality. This treasure of national and international importance is stored and preserved according to rigorous scientific criteria and it has been systematically catalogued, having scientific files, even from the moment when the collection was started. From practical reasons associated with modern legal requirements of protecting the patrimony, the collection is structured in some categories: costume, ceramics, interior tapestry, wood objects, religious objects, but also a visual archive of about 60,000 items, which are glass sheets (negatives and transparency), old photography, slides (film negatives and transparencies), graphics (peasant woodcuts, surveys, engravings), videotapes.
European Museum Of The Year Award, 1996-1997
In 1996, 64 museums from 21 countries hoped to obtain this award. After long analyses, the Committee decided to give the award to the Romanian Peasant Museum from Bucharest. According to the board, the museum has reached the highest European level with respect to the aesthetic presentation, and by its conception it proves a very rare imaginative quality. The collections were also evaluated and the way they were protected during the Communist regime was considered commendable. The Committee also mentioned that the managing curator Horia Bernea is one of the eminent personalities of the museum world, whom people would certainly talk about in the future.
On the 18th of May 1996, in the “100 persons’ Hall” in Barcelona town hall, the diploma and the trophy were given to Horia Bernea by the Queen Fabiola of Belgium. With the same occasion, Kenneth Hudson stressed the fact that the manager of the Romanian Peasant Museum is loved and respected by his colleagues and his artistic honours list is priceless for the creation of a museum, which rises above the traditional levels of presentations.
Thus, founded on the 5th of February 1990, the Romanian Peasant Museum was the first institution of this kind, in the Central and Eastern Europe, which was given EMYA after only 6 years of existence. In the halls of the Romanian Peasant Museum, the visitor is not told how our forefathers lived. One is only given the landmarks of a discourse about the peasants’ world, which is later on understood and even completed by oneself. One is helped by the fact that the themes are structured according to two main ideas, which actually represent the two segments of the permanent exhibition: The Christian Law and The Canon of Daily Life.
The permanent exhibition of the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant is closed due to building restoration and consolidation works.
However, halls for temporary exhibitions remain opened: Tancred Bănățeanu Hall, Foaier Hall and Acvariu Hall, the Peasant Art Gallery (the museum's gift shop) and the Peasant Museum's Cinema (Studioul Horia Bernea).
The access is via Monetăriei Street, no. 3.
Tel: +40 21 317 96 60