Welcome to the website of the Székely National Museum!
The Székely National Museum, turning 140 years in 2015, has been home to an outstanding public collection and a scientific-cultural institution of the Hungarian language area. During its history, it has experienced several relocations, system and power changes, tragic escapes, nationalization, but it can also be proud of being present at a world exhibition, of international acknowledgement, and of a solid development.
We thought that it would be appropriate for our visitors who enter the gates designed by Károly Kós to be welcomed with such a website, which offers a taste of the history and the collections of the Székely National Museum.
Our site was deliberately made for the great public, so that those interested can deepen the experiences they had at in our museum, and at the same time explore the diversity, richness and beauty of our institution.
We try to popularize not only the most important values, the outstanding collections kept in our central edifices, but also the external units and their professional activity; many independent institutions could find enviable the value saving and educational work of the “Gyárfás Jenő” Art Gallery, the Transylvanian Art Centre, the “Magma” Contemporary Art Centre from Sepsiszentgyögy, the “Haszmann Pál” Museum from Csernáton, the “Incze László” Museum of Guilds’ History from Kézdivásárhely, the Csángó Ethnographic Museum from Zabola and the Museum of the Barót Region from Barót.
We wish from this familiarizing site to strengthen the relation between us, and to make You come back to us, that is come home to us as many times as possible.
(Anthony Gall: Kós Károly, 2002, 72, 74)
Székely National MuseumThe Székely National Museum is open for public since 1875. This outstanding scientific institution has undertaken the task to carry on research activities and to present the heritage of the Székelys and the region of Székelyföld. The year 1879 that appears on the Museum’s seal represents the date when it passed into the common proprietorship of the Székely nation. At present, it represents the biggest Hungarian public collection outside Hungary and it is also one of the most important touristic attractions of Kovászna (Covasna) county and Székelyföld. It is enlisted as a regional museum in the network of the Romanian museums and it is maintained by the Council of Kovászna County. Its activity is also supported by the Székely National Museum Foundation registered in the 1990’s.
The complex in Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe) designed by Károly Kós comprises a library and departments for natural science, archeology-history and ethnography. The Art Gallery in Sepsiszentgyörgy, the external museum units in Kézdivásárhely (Tîrgu Secuiesc), Csernáton (Cernat), Barót (Baraolt) and Zabola (Zăbala) also make part of the institution.
I. Internal Departments of the MuseumI. The Library
embraces, on one hand, a research library that helps the research activity of the institution and, on the other hand is home to a considerable collection of antique books, press and other special materials. Its most significant asset is the Apor-codex, which contains, among others, the psalms of the first Hungarian bible translation (15th century) that were copied in it around 1500. (The bible translation mentioned above is considered the fourth oldest Hungarian literary work.)
2. The Natural Science Department
comprises, beside the most complete collection of Pliocene and Quaternary mammal fauna in Central-Eastern Europe, the biggest mushroom collection in Romania, the butterfly collection of László Diószeghy containing more than 23 000 species and a very significant botanical collection. The department’s entomologist is well known for discovering several new species.
3. Archaeological-Historical Department
The department’s archeological collection numbers more than 50 000 items. The Museum has researched and cataloged especially the sites of Kovászna County: the painted pottery culture from the Neolithic and Bronze Age found in Erősd (Ariuşd), the Neolithic findings of the site from Lécfalva (Leţ) and the findings of the cemeteries in Zabola (Zăbala) and Petőfalva (Petea) dating from the Árpád Era. The permanent archaeological exposition presents 35 000 years of material culture belonging to this area.
The historical collection’s most significant values are the military relics of the Székely orders dating from the Middle Age, relics of the Revolution from 1848 (for instance the field printing press of general Bem), the weapon collection numbering 250 pieces, as well as the significant furniture and glass collection of culture-historical value.
4. The Ethnographical Department
is famous for its unique collection in Transylvania numbering more than 15 000 pieces – among which the most significant are the noble embroidery collection dating from the 16–17th century, the glazed tiles and ceramic collections, the old carved and painted furniture, as well as the remarkable collection of traditional folk children toys. As an open-air exposition an 18th century house from the Alcsík (Lower Ciuc) region can be seen, with partially original furniture.
II. External units
There are five other autonomous, specialized museum institutions in Kovászna County belonging to the Székely National Museum.
1. As a Fine Arts Department
the Gyárfás Jenő Art Gallery ensures professional storing and exhibiting facilities for 19–20th century paintings, sculptures and drawings. Here the works of the artists of the Nagybánya (Baia Mare) Art Colony, Miklós Barabás, Jenő Gyárfás, Albert Nagy, Imre Zsögödi Nagy, as well as those of Lajos Varga Nándor, János Mattis-Teutsch, Imre Baász may be admired.
2. The Museum of the History of Guilds, Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Secuiesc)
hosts an outstanding collection and exhibition of the history of guilds, handicrafts and industry. Alongside the relics of the guild-heritage and the Revolution of 1848–49, the museum has a spectacular collection of fire engines from 19–20th century. Its most popular collection is the „Zsuzsi and Andris” doll-sized national costume collection numbering over 350 items. It is the merit of the museum’s specialist that the sunlit workshop of famous photographer family, the Bogdans, now functions as an exhibition place for history of photography.
3. Haszmann Pál Museum, Csernáton (Cernat)
It is an open-air exhibition presenting the folk architectural heritage of Kovászna County, traditional crafts’ tools, grave carvings, with an important collection of ethnographical and historical artifacts. It gained reputation thanks to its unique agricultural equipment park, technical history repertory, spectacular collection of cast-iron stoves, and at last but not least, due to the folk craft workshop-camps organized within the frame of the people’s college.
4. Museum of Erdővidék, Barót (Baraolt Region, Baraolt)
The museum holds an exposition of the relics related to the history of mining and guilds, as well as objects related to regional and industrial history. The collections of products belonging to the glass-houses of Székelyföld and the potters from the Barót (Baraolt) region are also of great significance.
5. Csángó Ethnographical Museum, Zabola (Zăbala)
It is a unique collection and a fascinating exhibition presenting the everyday life and folk art of the Moldavian Csángó communities. The traditional way of life of the Moldavian Hungarians can be followed through their costumes, their craftsmen’s products and their house interiors. An extremely rich collection related to local history can be seen in the old Székely house exhibited on the same parcel.
The commune Árkos and the Covasna County Capital, Sepsiszentgyörgy will host an extraordinary event: the ‘Spiral’ International Contemporary Art Symposium takes place here at the Training Center and the garden of the Szentkereszty Castle. [ details ]