Address: H-5601 Békéscsaba, Gyulai street 65.
Phone: + 36 66 441026
from april 4th till october 31th
9 to 17 hours
closed on mondays, sundays
Adults: 600 HUF
Students (aged 6-26), seniors (aged 62-70): 300 HUF
Free admission for:
- children under age 6
- disabled with an attendant
- teachers, professors
- seniors over 70
- ministry card holders
- ICOM card holders
- permanent exhibitions on national holidays (March 15th, August 20th, October 23rd)
- on the last Sunday of the month: individuals under age 26, and maximum two adults accompanying individual under age 18
The past of corn growing in Békés county
Békés county, in the past centuries, always had a leading role in growing and processing corn in Hungary. The best quality corn has always been grown in these parts of the country. Some of the best corn purifiers worked in Békés county: Sámuel Mokry and László Baross. The importance of Békés county’s food-economic role has not been diminished. The establishment of the Corn Museum in Békéscsaba, for the scientific and methodological presentation of food-economy, was decided in 1974. Subsequently, the Farm museum was purchased. The next step was that the Csókási windmill in Békéssámson had to be transferred to the area of the museum.
Growing cereals was domesticated about 8,000 years ago in this area. The subsequent Scythians, Celts, Sarmatians and Germanic and Avar tribes, in addition to animal husbandry, also dealt with growing corn. In the Middle Ages, the area abounding in rivers and pastures and forests mostly was suitable for keeping of livestock but the diploma of Stephen I, our state-forming king already mentions the villeins of Doboz as bread-givers.
At the time of the Turkish occupation of Hungary, taxation to the Hungarian and Turkish landlords and the wars of fifteen years impoverished the countryside and compelled the population to flee. In the 18th century, a lot was done in order to revive production by practical husbandmen and educators and clergymen, so Sándor Tessedik, an Evangelic parish-priest, even established an agricultural school .
In the 19th century, Sámuel Mokry, Ágoston Trefort, József Eötvös and many more tried to promote the county’s economy by regulation of water-ways, import of machinery, railway construction and organizing associations. In the 20th century, natural disasters often interrupted the continuity of production. A long and painful road lead from the system of national estates to the introduction of methods of agricultural engineering working with modern machinery and providing huge average yields.
The establishments of the Corn Museum:
1. The Gajdács or Csaba Farm:
The farm of three detachments was originally built in 1824 and was enlarged by a shed, a stable and some outhouses after the flood of 1888. The building of mud wall and with an open-air chimney, the oven made on a brushwood frame by mud-plastering and the kitcheners and the reed-roofing are all reminiscent of the one-time building method of the Great Plain. The original timber-work of the roof-tree has been preserved in the outhouse. The granary was built in 1871 and it was removed to this place from the courtyard of the Réti family in Újkígyós. The farm and its equipment raise monuments of the life-style dedicated to corn growing.
2. Csókási or Kiss Windmill:
The windmill was removed from Csókás puszta in the outskirts of Békéssámson, which belonged, prior to setting the counties’ confines, to the Town of Makó. Csókás puszta has preserved the name of a village destroyed during the Ottoman occupation of Hungary. The windmill coming from the farm No 507 had been built by Pál Vajnai on two pairs of millstones in 1856 to 1860. The catchment area of the mill used to comprise about 100 farms. In the 1890s, the mill was rebuilt onto three pairs of millstones. The annual output of the mill was: milling and grinding of 15 to 16 wagons of grain. Subsequent owners of the mill were István Molnár and Mihály Bokor. Owned by the Kiss family, the mill last ground grain on November 30th, 1953.
3. The shed in Vésztő-Mágor:
Following the abolition of serfdom of 1848, landlords were deprived of many socage days. That is why, in the 2nd half of the 19th century, the mechanization of agricultural cultivation developed by leaps and bounds since this was necessary to maintain and to increase cultivation. Sowing-machines, harvesters, threshing-machines and power machines were purchased by the estates. The storing of the new machines needed buildings for this purpose. The replica shed, with its imposing building and apparent expedience, is a unit admired by many visitors. The shed, constructed following the plans of János Mikó, carpenter from Békés, had been erected in original, on the Mágor range near Vésztő, on the estate of count Dénes Wenckheim and inheritors in 1875. The shed is today utilized as a sheep-fold by local co-operative farms.
4. The monument erected to the memory of the purifiers of corn:
Both the sculpture composition entitled “The Seed” and, as a kind of ambulatory tent of a horse-driven mill: a work by Roland Nemes, the wooden construction erected over it, are dedicated to the memories of the corn purifiers of the South Great Plain The wheat seed of Carrara marble standing on two millstones, is a symbol of growing and processing wheat. The grooves of the upper millstones are practically redolent of the furrows of arable land.
5. The sculpture entitled “Abundance”:
The Süttő lime stone work of art by Emil Vitroel, Romanian sculptor, was placed on the area of the museum in June 1985. The artist living in Nagyvárad, presented the sculpture to the Békéscsaba and, by a resolution of the Municipality Council, it was erected and inaugurated on the area of the Corn Museum.
On the area around Gajdács Farm, in conformity with farming conditions, a range of bushes and plum trees and walnut-trees and other appropriate plants was established. A small flower bed is located in front of the farm with traditional farm flowers and a rosemary stem. Medick was planted in the major part of the farm area. A demonstrative parcel of old autumn wheat and autumn barley, already withdrawn from production, can be seen in front of the shed and the windmill. In the autumn of 1988, 35 species were sown. Species of special value are, also characteristic of the area, the Gyoma species, the Komádi species, the Bánkúti corns and the Mezőhegyes species. Interested visitors may thus get to know several cereals which were used in traditional peasant corn growing. Additionally, the manager of the museum keeps records of the species and their cultivation and illnesses. In case a convenient “crop quantity” is produced, even a quality test is performed in the laboratory of the company.
The standing exhibition entitled “Storing and Processing of Wheat in Békés county from Antiquity to our age”. The material of the exhibition was collected and arranged by István Cs. Szabó who was a successor to Mihály Vasvári in the directorship of the museum from August 16th, 1985 on. The aim of the exhibition is to present on an area of 220 m2, both to the average visitor and the expert, the history of growing and processing wheat; to help augment technical and economic and social knowledge. The exhibition can be divided into the following main units: I. Prehistoric Age and the Migration Period II. The Middle Ages III. The resettlement of Békés county after the Turkish devastation IV. The so-called capitalist development in our county V. The county’s milling industry from the time of nationalization to our time; the history of Békés County Company of Trade in Cereals and Milling Industry.
The idea of foundation:
The idea of the foundation of the museum dates back to the early 1970s. The correspondence in the documentation department testifies that the intention of founding the institute was conceived around 1970 to 1974. The county and municipal leaders encouraging the foundation of the institute, initiated actual realization at several forums. Thus, among others, a letter (dated April 9th, 1974) was written by the Municipal Commission of MSZMP (former Communist Party of Hungary) to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Administration, personally to Jenő Váncsa, minister. In the letter the Commission requires the Ministry’s support for the foundation of a museum of the “economic history of wheat” to be established in Békéscsaba. The idea of the letter writers was that a research team of agrarian history would work in the museum. They also outlined their ideas on the work and the scope of collection and the maintenance of the museum.
Lajos Vlcskó, general director at the time of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum was commissioned to work out a comprehensive proposal on the museum to be established. The proposal was, of course, agreed upon with those competent of Békéscsaba Municipal Council, the more so because a ground and an existing edifice for the site of the museum had been offered by the Municipality Council. In the proposal, the Békés county foundation of the museum was justified with reference to the county’s past of growing and processing corn. Then, they described the topics which, in the letter writers’ opinion, the museum should deal with:
I. The history of corn-growing:
1. Concepts of corn growing
2. Growing corn in the South Great Plain
3. Purification of cereals
II. The history of storing and processing bread crops:
1. History of storing and cleaning
2. The history of milling industry
3. The history of baking industry processing (peasant bread-baking, bakers-small-scale industry, bread-making factories-baking industry).
During the discussions the opinion was held that to decide the museum character of the museum to be established, was a momentous issue. One of the most important goals was that the museum should collect a memorial material presenting the life-style of those working in the milling industry, the bakers and the workers of baking industry and the museum should also organize a standing exhibition of the material collected. The founders were of the opinion that “collection and presentation were also justified by the fact that, while the material of traditional peasant culture was and is being collected by the museum organization, the culture of those working in processing industry and baking industry has not been presented.” They thought that some of the monuments of growing and processing corn (farm, granary, windmill, horse-driven mill, watermill) had to be presented and erected on the area of the museum. The initiators also suggested that small machinery representing the beginnings of traditional small-scale corn growing should be collected and presented in the museum (sowing-machines made between 1880 to 1945, harvesters, tools of cultivation, fodder processing machinery, etc.). The deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of Békés County Council and Békés County Committee of MSZMP (former Communist Party of Hungary), turned, in a joint letter dated May 5th, 1977, to the presidents of the county’s agricultural co-operatives. In the letter the addressees were notified that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Administration had initiated the establishment of a Corn Museum in Békéscsaba, also expressing: “the investment of national, even international importance, unique especially in Europe, has been financed by national organs but it is by all means necessary that the economic units in the county should also unite their forces for the purpose.” Afterwards, the letter particularised the plans of foundation and preparation and requested relevant support of the economic units for the cover in the budget. The old farm and outhouses in the “Kisfényes” quarter of the town along the Gyula public road was purchased, from Pál Gajdács and wife (maiden name: Dorottya Zsibrita; farm number: 2135), by the Municipality Council in 1977. The farm, from that date on, as the first unit of the museum to be established, was entered into possession of the municipality and registered under the name of Gajdács or Csaba Farm.
Mihály Vasvári, a teacher engineer of agriculture, was appointed, by Lajos Vlcskó, director of museum, with effect from March 15th, 1978. The Békéscsaba Corn Museum worked as a branch establishment, until December 31st, 1984, under the supervision of the Hungarian Museum of Agriculture in Budapest. Mihály Vasvári directed the museum until July 31st, 1985. By persistent labour, exploring financial support and struggling with the difficulties of building operations, he established, with his fellow-workers, the museum complex which can be visited even today. In addition to the Csaba Farm as a standing exhibition, several periodical exhibitions were also presented from 1978 to 1985. The farm and its outhouses were renovated in 1978, following the regulation of the Ancient Monuments Act. In 1981, the public monument windmill in Csókás puszta on the outskirts of Békéssámson, was demolished and subsequently rebuilt on the area of the museum where it was presented to the public under the name of Csókási windmill. The growing expenses made it necessary to obtain more support through the instrumentality of the county’s leadership. In order to co-ordinate the activities around the establishment of the museum, with the participation of the representatives of the organs interested, the Executive Committee of the Corn Museum was established, which, after January 1st, 1985, was re-established under the name of Development Council of the Corn Museum. Wheat industry contributed by millions of Forints to the construction and the maintenance of the Museum from the very beginning of the process. The museum was opened on October 31st, 1980. The existence and the activities of the museum were so highly appreciated that the museum and the exhibitions were opened to the public by Dr. Ferenc Vendégh, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Administration. On the same day, in Kétegyháza, the Collection of Development History of Agricultural Machinery and Engineering, acting in the framework of the Vocational School, was opened by the Deputy Minister. The two institutes had excellent professional and human relations for years, inter alia, they presented to the public joint collections of the materials of both institutes. The public of Békéscsaba and the visiting tourists were enriched by a three- person museum (Mihály Vasvári, director of museum; Pál Gajdács, caretaker; Gajdács Pálné, caretaker-cleaner).
The peasant’s farm is located along the public road leading to Gyula. The furnished farm building and the farm-buildings partly preserved, partly removed from elsewhere, evoke traditional peasant farming. The granary was resettled from Újkígyós onto the ground of the Museum as well as a windmill from Csókási farm in the world of farms of Békéssámson and a shed from the Wenckheim estate in Vésztő-Mágor. In the shed, an exhibition entitled “The History of Storing and Processing Corn from the Primitive Age to our days” can be viewed. The place also provides riding facilities.