“… full of love for mankind…”
The András Jósa Museum in Nyíregyháza
In the course of founding museums in Hungary during the 19th century the majority outside the capital followed the establishment of the National Museum a good half a century later. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 the process accelerated. This was connected with the new, favourable situation and with the fact that by then the provincial lesser nobility and middle class intelligentsia had already compiled significant collections. While the National Museum was founded by the head of one of Hungary’s most significant and wealthiest aristocratic families, in the provinces, including Nyíregyháza, teachers, doctors, priests and ‘experts’ in the service of aristocrats collected and donated. András Jósa (1834–1918), the founder of the museum was born in Nagyvárad (today Oradea). In 1864 he graduated from Vienna University’s Faculty of Medicine. Although he could have become the Habsburg family’s physician, he returned to his county and first practised in Nagykálló, the then county seat, in Nyíregyháza from 1884, and later as the county’s chief medical officer. He was also interested in other matters. His hobby was to search the relics of the past. He was most interested in the Bronze Age and the era of the Hungarian Conquest. He personally participated in excavating barrows, which at the time were believed to be geological formations. In 1868, together with baron József Vécsey, he excavated Sarmatian finds from the 3rd century at Geszteréd. In the line of their official duties they informed Flóris Rómer, keeper of the Collection of Antiquities at the National Museum. Rómer, as one of the founders of the Association of Museums in Upper Hungary, had the idea of setting up the Szabolcs County Archaeological Society, which was established with the support of András Jósa in 1868.