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The World's greatest Munkácsy collection
Branch of Ethnography

The Department of Ethnography established in 1977 of the Museum is the base museum of the Slovakian and Romanian ethnic minorities living in Hungary. The collection of ethnography counts 10,433 individual relics. The decisive two-thirds of the collection represent the traditional culture of the Slovaks. By acquiring the base museum authority, collecting Romanian historical relics also became stressed; as a result of the collecting work begun in the early 1970s, 2,332 Romanian individual relics are held now. Though less intensively, from the same time on, collecting both Hungarian and Serbian materials was making headway: these two ethnic minorities are represented by altogether 1,300 relics. The number of German relics is about five hundred. The room interiors of Evangelical Slovakians from Tótkomlós and Békéscsaba and those of reformed Hungarians from Zsadány and of Greek Orthodox Romanians from Kétegyháza, as well as the 18th to 19th century icons painted on canvas or glass of Serbs and Romanians are of significant value. The representation of popular ceramics is also substantial: Transylvania and the pottery products of two pottery centres in the Hungarian Great Plain (Hódmezővásárhely and Mezőtúr) and the products of Tótkomlós following the footsteps of those of Vásárhely are worth of mentioning.

Founding the collection of the Békéscsaba museum dates back to the early 1900s. The first important enrichment of ethnography took place in 1903. A collection of 30 pieces of the hand-loom weaving industry of Békéscsaba is associated with the names of Bartóky Lászlóné (Mrs.) and György Maros. The beauty and the value of these objects made the employees of the National Museum at the time buy Békéscsaba homespun.

From 1973 to 1978, significant efforts were made by Zoltán Beck to enrich the Hungarian material of the collection. From 1975 on, he organized several successful receptive camps in order to collect the spiritual traditions and the relics of the settlements with Hungarian population which once belonged to Southern Bihar. Éva Gulyás and Rozália L. Sinkó collected a number of Hungarian relics in the years from 1971 to 1972 and from 1982 to 1983, respectively. The names of Eszter Lami and György Ando, as part of a research of the Slovakians living in the county, are related to the continuous collecting works of 1977 and 1989. The collection of ethnographic history, by Igor Grin’s collecting activities of Romanian and Serbian relics and the Romanian historic search for material of Csobai Lászlóné (Mrs.) (8,944 inventoried items), reflects more faithfully the ethnic minority ratios of the county. As a result of a change in the centre of interest experienced from the early 1970s, the collection representation of all nationalities was implemented and, by the end of the decade, the first standing exhibition of ethnographic history displaying all the ethnic groups of Békés county was established.

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