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The Collections Of Natural Science

In the autumn of 1879, when the museum was moved to Sepsiszentgyörgy, the inventory of Jánosné Cserey included 9365 items, of which 1665 were of natural science. A part of these items were bought by Jánosné Cserey in 1875 from the other founder, Gyula Vasady Nagy.

The contemporary documents about the circumstances of the founding of the museum emphasize on several occasions the deficiency of the collection of natural sciences compared to the other collections, but they also note that it is quite easy to change this situation. Nonetheless, the scientific research had started quite early, as in November 1879, by the request of Vasady, Antal Koch defined and described some prehistoric Mammalian fossils from Köpec. In spite of the lack of specialists, this collection had been seriously expanding during the decades through donations and the collecting of external colleagues. Such relevant collections were integrated as the ornithological collections of Madarász (1903) and Ebergényi (1911), respectively the collection of minerals from Máramaros region of Lajos Joós.

Curators Ferenc László and Vilmos Csutak were also carrying out official geological fieldworks. On the fieldtrips of the museum organized during the year 1911, geologists János Bányai and Dr. Gyula Szádeczky accompanied the archaeological research in order to expand the mineralogical collection with new items. In 1910 there were already 7909 items in the inventory, while in 1929 their number was 13384.

In his report published in our 1929 jubilee Yearbook, Vilmos Csutak wrote the following about this collection: “Not even after these fifty years since 1879 is our collection in a condition to offer a concise image to the visitor – and far from offering one to the nature connoisseur – of the extremely valuable and rich world of minerals, flora and fauna of Székelyföld.” However, there were also many improvements at that time, and he was urging the assurance of suitable material tools and permanent specialized scholars, considering it the only way to the raise of this collection. The chosen successor would have been József László (son of Ferenc László), who’s tragic death (in 1932) put an end to a promising work. In 1934, there were some discussions with ornithologist László Dobay, a retired railway inspector from Dicsőszentmárton, but unfortunately the parts could not agree.

In the interwar period one of the most important scientific activities of the Székely National Museum was to organize scientific fieldworks with the attendance of such great scholars as János Bányai, Ernő Balogh, László Diószeghy, Gerő Köntzei, Gyula E. Nyárádi, Gyula K. Szádeczky, Zoltán Török, János Tulogdy, János Xantus. The professionally collected material meant an important expanding of the collection.

In 1948 we succeeded to transport from Borosjenő the Lepidoptera collection of László Diószeghy, a collection that had been donated to the museum already in 1931. “The undersigned, as a son of the city, would like to bring to your attention with great respect and high esteem, that my collection of Lepidoptera, well known among experts, counting many thousand pieces, meaning numerous types described by myself and published in scientific journals, I shall donate to the Museum! I shall do this on the one hand as a gesture of a never ending devotion to my nation, and on the other hand to help the expanding of its small, but continentally well known and partially extremely valuable collection, and to set an example for the effective support of the institution in the past, present and future. However, with this donation I shall set a condition: the collection will stay – for further scientific research and expanding – at my place until my death” (fragment from the donation letter of László Diószeghy, 1931 April 24). The valuable material, 25 129 pieces in 163 boxes, was (globally) registered under number 2771. Because of the high number of species (2085) and individual items (more than 23 000) this collection has a great scientific importance. Carrying out an exhaustive and consequent collecting work, László Diószeghy succeeded in collecting new species and rare specimen from geo-zoological point of view. Besides the diversity of the species discovered, the variety of places of occurrence (60 in the country, 14 abroad) also makes it an extremely valuable document of the Lepidoptera.

In 1953 the permanent collection of natural science got new furniture. The bird and Mammalian specimens were exposed in oaken show-cases and dioramas suitable for the contemporary needs of museology, and the exhibition Origin and evolution of life was opened.

The museum has a permanent scholar, a specialist of natural sciences only since 1961. Biologist Sándor Kovács started with annihilating all insect damage from the flora and fauna collection, and then he initiated the registration, examination of the material, and the separation of the valuable and usable items. He called for colleagues from outside the museum to revise the material. During this revise and re-registration the items without any usable data were removed. We could not save about 10% of the Diószeghy collection of Lepidoptera, damaged by fungi and Anthrenus museorum.

Parallel with the arranging of the storeroom and making a new register, there was scientific research as well: in 1963 set off the research of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Mammalian fragments from the Brassó Basin with the participation of the colleagues from the museum and of “Emil Racoviţă” Institute of Speleology from Bucharest. This team work was not resumed only to the definition, restoration and conservation of the specimens from the storeroom, but there was continuous and exact stratum analysis, collecting, and publishing of the results. The collection of 50-60 items of prehistoric Mammalia was expanded, cumulating more than 650 pieces from 55 species.

In 1969, on the 90th anniversary of the museum, Kálmán László donated – in the memory of his father – the result of his scientific work: a herbarium consisting of 3500 large size files. The collection includes 1222 species, representing 40 orders, 100 families and 457 genera. A large part of the material was collected and defined around Sepsiszentgyörgy and Brassó between 1915 and 1969.

In the meantime there were – mostly formal – changes in the permanent collection. In 1962 the Origin and evolution of life exhibition was removed, and there were smaller rearrangements in the flora and fauna exhibits. In 1963 set off the evolutionary exhibition, based mostly on objects, replaced in 1969 by the one entitled The geology of the Brassó Basin and surroundings. The zoological part of the main exhibition was further improved. In September 1972 the permanent exhibition was removed, and the complete material ended up in the storeroom.

During the following years the explicitly museologist and research activity went on. Thanks to museologist Sándor Kovács a research was started on the flora and vegetation of the Bodok Mountains, and in five years the botanical collection was expanded with 2600 large size herbarium files. The next period saw this unit organizing numerous temporary exhibitions of great interest for the visitors: The world of sweetwaters, The world of insects (1980), The world of minerals (1981), The Ice Age and its fauna (1981), The forest and its universe (1981), The game and its hunting (1982). On the spring of 1983 the botanical collections Ezerjófű and Csodabab, stored in the House of Agronomists (in the Szentkereszty Castle from Árkos), were taken to the museum.

In December 1991 from the subsidy given for the expanding of the collection of natural science, we were able the purchase a part of the Lepidoptera collection of Sándor Kovács Jr. and Dr. Zoltán Kovács.

In 1992 we began the rearrangement of the permanent exhibition. In the spring of 1994 the Geology exhibition was opened to the public. The minerals can be seen arranged by their chemical composition, while the rocks are grouped by their formation. The local specificities are presented separately.

In the spring of 1996 the exhibition called S. O. S. Nature was opened, presenting some of the plants that are rare or disappearing from our region. The fauna is presented by its habitat: near human presence, land of waters – land of reed, deciduous woods and coniferous woods.

Back in 1984 a project was set off together with our colleagues from the Hungarian Natural History Museum from Budapest regarding the research of true weevils. As a result of this research, we have a significant collection of true weevils in our possession.

Since its founding (1875) to its nationalization (1950), the Székely National Museum had been functioning as a foundation. After another political system change, in 1992 our colleagues at that time together with some enthusiastic sustainers founded the Székely National Museum Foundation. In 1995, Kálmán László donated to our foundation his collection of fungi, a part of his library and his mycologist’s notes. In 1997 the foundation was given the Dénes Pázmány material (plant and fungi collection, a part of his books), therefore we can say that the largest collection of fungi is in the property of the Székely National Museum.

Thanks to donations and the scientific activity, nowadays the collections of natural science number more than 60000 items.

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.
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