Delighted by diversity

Ida Kovács, head of the Petőfi Museum of Literature’s arts collection

MúzeumCafé 36.

Apart from their works, recent exhibitions organised by the Petőfi Museum of Literature (PML) have highlighted writers’ education and personalities, and in fact everything that came to their minds which can be read about in their works. Ida Kovács is centrally involved in the team creating these exhibitions. MúzeumCafé put her on the spot when we spoke to her in connection with the exhibition Accounting for Talent about Frigyes Karinthy, which runs until the end of the year. We asked her to tell us about her career, which is closely linked to PML, it being her first and to this day only place of employment. Ida Kovács was born in Szabadszállás in 1956. In 1983 she graduated at ELTE university in Hungarian language and literature. From 1995 she studied at ELTE for her diploma as a historian of photography and in 1999 she became a trained valuer at the BÁV auction house. In 2011 she defended her Ph.D. thesis, Insight into the Shrine. Visiting writers in terms of a communication ceremony in establishing literary cults. From 1996 she has been a departmental head of the art and relics collection at PML. She was awarded the Ferenc Móra prize in 2010. She found it surprising that she was asked about her career, since in her work she usually deals with those of others. Sometimes people are amazed that she has worked in just one place. Such loyalty is no longer fashionable and people move around every few years. Yet for her there was no reason for that, since the Museum of Literature itself has moved with the times and every now and again has overhauled its approach. The art department collects works of art related to literature, along with relics and photographs. The beginnings go back to the Petőfi Society, founded in the 1870s, which later obtained a legacy from the estate of Mór Jókai.