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The “Haszmann Pál” Museum in Csernáton

Pál Haszmann already collected decorated objects early in his life, when at his grandmother’s home in Székelytamásfalva he arranged a little “museum” for himself. His love for objects can be traced back to the dream world of childhood, and probably even the idea of the museum was conceived in his heart as early as the 1910s.

The founder of our museum was born in the former industrial establishment Gyulafalva near Kommandó in 1902. He became an honourable teacher and principle of the school; he married in Csernáton, and lived there until his death in 1977. He expanded his collection with passion all the time. His favourite places were the villages of Upper Háromszék, rich in material mementoes, where people used to kindly place at his disposal old documents, spiritual heritage and precious ethnographic material. His collection includes prehistoric relics, coins, objects related to traditional craftsmanship, furniture, weavings, embroideries, traditional and ornamental pottery, glass items, collection of minerals and rocks, documents, books, old photographs, obituaries, stamps, objects related to traditional agriculture etc. He registered and processed the incoming material with scientific precision. At the same time he used to enrich his ethnographic knowledge, keeping in touch with ethnographers, museologists and with anyone he could learn from. He always wanted to make this precious collection accessible to everyone. He educated many generations with faith and honesty even in the hardest of times.

In their letter of donation and foundation Pál Haszmann and his wife, Ida Cseh – Haszmann Pálné donated their collection of more than 8000 items to the Székely National Museum with the condition that under no circumstances can it be taken away from Csernáton or included in other collections. Another important condition was that the curators of the collection must be members or descendants of their family.

With the help and support of the leaders of the county at that time, of specialists from the Székely National Museum, with the professional and financial support of many others the institution opened its gates to the public on the 25th of February 1973 in the Gyula Damokos mansion and the surrounding two hectares of land. Those were the final days of the manor house: taken as it was in the property of the state farm it was used for fattening up pigs, storing grains, or as occasional accommodation for agricultural workers.

To avoid being a pile of dead objects, the People’s Academy of Csernáton and the “Bod Péter” Cultural Society were founded at the same time. The latter publishes the Csernátoni Füzetek [Booklets of Csernáton], a publication that has been out since 1991.

During the last 40 years the academy has been opening its doors to creative young people from April to October. The summer camps are functioning continuously, offering the chance for all those interested to learn the art of wood-sculpture, furniture-painting, the blacksmith’s craft, the carpenter’s, joiner’s or wheelwright’s trade. Yet there are also many other occupations such as felting, basketwork, embroidery, sewing–weaving etc. A strong feature is the building of traditional Székely gates and the sculpture of wooden headboards. The objective of these camps is the active preservation of tradition, the development of the aptitudes of the youth, education towards creative activities and traditional decoration, the learning of their material “mother tongue”, and the consolidation of communal life.

The most beautiful and original pieces of the artists enrich the permanent folk art exhibition. During its existence, the academy instructed hundreds of young people, offering them an occupation, therefore assuring them a living. In one season more than 600 people attend these events from all corners of historical Hungary and from all over the world. The activity that nowadays is called museum pedagogy has a four decades long history here.

The “Haszmann Pál” Cultural Society exists since 2006 along the “Haszmann Pál” Museum, the People’s Academy and the “Bod Péter” Cultural Society. As a registered legal entity it helps the work of the institutions mentioned above. Its primordial objective is to expand the collection of the museum and to present and popularize it through exhibitions, publications, and through cooperation with other museums and institutions. Further objectives would be the preservation of our folk traditions, their popularization and passing to the new generations.The cultural society joined the work that has been carried out for three decades, helping the organization of creative camps, of different exhibitions, of courses and meetings, the editing of publications. There is also good cooperation with several cultural institutions from Romania and Hungary, organizing common programmes and activities.

The precious collections are maintained at present by the three sons of Pál Haszmann and their families. The institution bears the name of its founder since 1999, and in 2013 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of its existence.

    The main collections are the following:
  • local history, historic-cultural material;
  • traditional craftsmanship;
  • Székely painted furniture, popular furniture;
  • sculpted and inscriptional timberwork, wooden sculptures;
  • objects of everyday use;
  • decorative pottery, glass and china, fine art collection;
  • costumes, weavings, embroideries;
  • manuscripts, old books, documents, obituaries, old photographs and vinyl discs;
  • numismatic collection;
  • collection of minerals and rocks;
  • archaeological collection;
  • collection of cemetery objects (tombstones, wooden headboards);
  • collection of radios (recording and playing set);
  • collection of Hungarian cast iron;
  • collection of old agricultural tools and machines.

1. The permanent exhibition

The permanent basic exhibition is hosted by the Gyula Damonkos mansion, the main building of the museum. Here we can see the exhibition on the spiritual and cultural history of the region, respectively the one presenting the work of the great sons of the village, giving homage to Péter Bod and Antal Végh. We can also discover local aspects of great historical events (the War of Independence led by Ferenc Rákóczi II, the Revolution of 1848–1849, WWI and WWII).

The exhibition holds numerous 17th–19th century painted chests and Székely furniture. The carved decorative items have a great importance, along with the folk costumes from Upper Háromszék and from Csernáton, the weavings, the embroideries and the weaving tools. The precious collection of glazed tiles also has its place in the main building, presenting the material of the important pottery centres: Kézdivásárhely, Bereck, Zabola-Páva, Kézdialbis.

2. The open-air museum

The open-air section was made as a completion of the initiative by the Székely National Museum. The 1690 Székely house from Vargyas, covered with shingles, respectively the house from Bélafalva built by Sámuel Orbán were in fact intended to stay on the plot of the museum from Sepsiszentgyörgy, behind the Csíki House, in order to represent the typical Udvarhely and Háromszék region house, but because of lack of space they were transported to the museum in Csernáton. Most of the other houses are also multi-structured Székely houses with porch. We need to mention another house, this time from Kézdialbis, dating back to 1785–1790, and an 18th century grain house from Futásfalva.

Among the Székely gates of the outdoor section the eldest one is a 1761 gate from Páva, representing the traditional type from Háromszék. The so-called “gate of Mr. Fehér” from Altorja was made in 1800. From Felsőcsernáton we have two Székely gates: one of István Rákosi from 1818, another from Gyula Beke from 1854.

Our museum has a great collection of timberwork, mostly from 17th–19th century demolished houses from Csernáton and the surrounding villages, built by common Székelys, but there are also a few from demolished mansions of Alsócsernáton.

Of the technical tools exposed in the garden of the mansion we have to point out the two-stone water mill of Simon Orosz from Felsőcsernáton, dating back to 1836. Another conspicuous item is the collection of objects related to the history of bee-keeping in Háromszék.

3. Exhibition of agricultural tools and machines

The rich collection of agricultural tools and machines is also part of the outdoor unit. Heading the list would the power engines. These are the one cylinder – vertical or horizontal – Diesel, petrol, or paraffin engines. The old machines, tractors present a spectacular image. We can find here the American Fordson, the Internationale, the Hungarian HSCS etc., so the factories of historical Hungary are present along with those of Europe. The iron plough invented, manufactured and named after Antal Végh was known outside the region as well, in Moldavia, in Walachia, and even the Vidacs Factory in Budapest was interested in it.

A separate section of this collection is represented by the threshing-machines and accessories. An especially interesting part is the rich collection of tools and machines used at the cultivation of the land: ploughs, harrows, rollers, seeding machines, hoeing machines, mowing machines, and all the tools and machinery used by the Székelys.

In the past our region had large lands of trefoil, so special threshing machines were in use in Háromszék. The soil and climate were also suitable for lentil; therefore our collection has special sieves and seed-cleaning machines.

4. Cast iron collection

The museum has been collecting for decades the stoves and decorative objects made of cast iron. The beauty and historical importance of this group was expressed by the founder of the museum, Pál Haszmann, urging their collection. As a result of several decades of work, the collection of stoves has become an important one for Székelyföld and Transylvania, being also known on the international level.

One factory or another used to make hundreds of variants for one kind of stove, and even within one type the ornaments were changed sometimes, bearing the marks, the style of a given period of time. The important factories were located near the iron ore mines, where all conditions were given for iron-foundry.

The collection of the objects from the Székelyföld can be divided into the following groups: cast iron stoves, object related to burial customs (crosses, headboards), everyday life items (mortars, flatirons, vessels), decorative items (statues, figures, candlesticks, platters, lamps).

5. The past of the radio in Háromszék

The exhibition of radios was opened in 2004, however the restoration and fixing of the material is a continuous task. Only a selection of items of the complete collection can be seen on the exhibition. Besides the radio sets we have Morse signal sets, telephones, gramophones, Pathé phonographs, a smaller telephone exchange, starting with the 1920s and 1930s. The radio sets come from the most different countries of the world. Among the famous manufacturers we mention Standard, Orion, Philips, Telefunken, Grundig, Tesla. The oldest pieces of the collection are the crystal detector sets with earphones. 80% of the fixed sets can be tried out by visitors.

On 1 April 2015 MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe celebrated its 5 years anniversary. During these five years we have collaborated with around 250 artists, art theorists, philosophers, etc. and together we contributed to what MAGMA is today.[ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe cordially invites you to the opening of the group exhibition Examples for Non-universal Chair on March 18, 2015 at 18:00. [ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sf. Gheorghe kindly invites you to the opening of the exhibition 'DREAMHUNTING' by Igor BUHAROV (Kornél SZILÁGYI), Ivan BUHAROV (Nándor HEVESI) and Vasile CROAT (László HORVÁTH). [ details ]
On January 15, 2015 at 19:00 MAGMA Contemporary Art Space from Sfântu Gheorghe cordially invites you to the opening of the exhibition entitled The geometry of water by Hungarian artist Ágnes PÉTER winner of the first prize at the second edition of the International Graphic Art Biennial in Szeklerland.[ details ]
SALON VIDEO and MAGMA Contemporary Art Space cordially invite you to the opening of the archive-exhibition salonvideo_SUBmissions.[ details ]
Magda CSUTAK // Solo Exhibition[ details ]
Ivan Ladislav GALETA solo exhibition[ details ]
Opening: 14. February, 2014., 19:00[ details ]
Group exhibition[ details ]
Zoltán Szegedy-Maszák & Márton Fernezelyi [ details ]
The 35-year anniversary exhibition of MAMŰ[ details ]
Prints, Drawings and Photos from the Ethnological Archives[ details ]
MAGMA Contemporary Art Space invites you to the opening of the exhibition entitled Master and disciple 4 of the artists Ilona NÉMETH and Jaro VARGA [ details ]
Joint temporary exhibition of the Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism, the Hungarian Museum for Science, Technology and Transport and the Fazakas & Kimmel Collection [ details ]
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 ]
Our exhibition attempts to give an overview of the main events, effects and consequences of the greatest plague epidemic of European history, the Black Death, which first devastated Europe in 1347-1349. [ details ]
Holidays and Encounters II. – Ethnographic exhibition and Europe in Miniature cultural program in the Székely National Museum[ details ]
Executive editor: Vargha Mihály.
© Copyright: The Székely National Museum, 2019.