The Village Museum (1936)
The National Village Museum, the second largest open-air museum in Europe, is by far the most acknowledged and appreciated museum in Bucharest, by visitors from abroad and Romanians alike. The museum was set up in 1936, at the same time with the nearby Herastrau Park, and was inaugurated in the presence of King Carol II. It was at the time one of the first ethnographic museums in the world.
The creation of the Village Museum is the result of the exceptional monographic research campaign, extended for over a decade, initiated and advised by Professor Dimitrie Gusti, founder of the Sociological School of Bucharest. Peasant artifacts (household, technical installations and even churches) and interior objects (pottery, fabrics, furniture, tools) considered representative of their places of origin, were acquired from all the regions of the country and were presented here in a setting close to their original condition. Conforming to the criterion of authenticity and respect of local construction practices, the reassembling of the rural households was made with peasant craftsmen brought from the very villages of origin of the houses. The museum is in fact a synthesis of all Romanian villages, in all their originality and diversity.
For a visitor to Romania the Village Museum is perhaps the best introduction to the country. As a major landmark of Bucharest, I included it in two of my suggested city tours: “Essential Bucharest”-Half-Day City Tour and “Best of Bucharest”-Full-Day City Tour
The Village Museum was evoked in a beautiful poem by Marin Sorescu, a widely popular Romanian poet of the 1970s generation. Click on this link to read the poem!