History

The idea of ethnographic research in Dobrudja is relatively recent. Starting with 1960, collective bodies of specialists from the Village Museum, the Folk Art Museum in Bucharest as well as the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu set themselves the task of mapping out the only blank spot of their exhibiting space: the research concerning Dobrudja. This issue once solved, the complete ethnographic image of the country could be brought into focus.

The extensive research on Dobrudjan architecture, the peasants’ technical devices and the folk artistic creation led to the transfer of two peasant households to the Village Museum of Bucharest, various wind mill types to the Museum of Folk Civilization in Sibiu, as well as to acquiring interior objects by the Folk Art Museum of Bucharest. These efforts were attempts to complete the regional variety of the collections of the above mentioned museums, but they obviously could not be taken as completely significant for illustrating the originality and variety of all genres of the folk creation of the lands between the Danube and the Black Sea. The research conducted by professor Paul Petrescu, whose studies make countless references to Dobrudja, provided a remarkable theoretical contribution. The organization by the Bucharest Museum of Folk Art of a first exhibition of folk art in Constantza, in 1971, marks a significant stage in the evolution of the study of ethnographic art. That exhibition was open on the ground floor of the present building of our museum. This is how the local authorities, understanding the importance of this undertaking, allotted the first financial funds, rather slim at the beginning, in order to have a collection of folk art organized in Dobrudja.

Extensive ethnographic research has been going on in Dobrudja since 1973. Considering the social and historical context of the region, the researchers took into account the geographical and historical criteria, as well as the organic mobility of certain groups of population. Consequently, due to their special features, the northern and southern areas of Dobrudja provided a wide range of ethnographic material belonging to the various ethnic groups living on these territories, but which was unitary as far as the population of Romanian descent was concerned. On the other hand, the Danube banks constituted an inexhaustible source for the study and acquisition of samples of material culture testifying to the perennial existence of Romanian people on Dobrudjan land.

As a result of this continuous activity, the collections of Dobrudjan folk art were formed between 1973-1980; they were the nucleus of the future museum. The first exhibition of folk art of Dobrudja with all exhibits belonging to its own patrimony was open in our city in 1975. They were grouped according to the different genres of creation and were illustrative for the variety of characteristics of the ethnic groups living in the region. At the same time, the specific Romanian character was highlighted for the first time; it emphasised a concept of Dobrudjan folk art which subsequently revealed its originality within the framework of the unitary context of the Romanian folk art. The patrimony acquisitions were made gradually, each stage enabling us to quantitatively and qualitatively appreciate a genre of creation so that one may say that by 1994 all ethnographic zones of the country were represented in our collections, in line with our initial strategy. After January 1991 our museum deservedly acquired its juridical status, a fact which entailed a different cultural strategy concerning our managerial policy, training, specialists in various fields (museology, documentation, conservation, restauration) a strategy in line both with the new conditions and with the experience acquired over the previous years.

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