The history of 25 years, 70 years, 25 years
The Complexul Muzeal in Arad
Arad occupies a special place in Hungarian history. The memory of the 13 generals executed there in 1849 provided the main impetus for collecting relics of the anti-Habsburg 1848-49 War of Independence and placing them in a museum. In Arad there was no concept of founding a museum. A Palace of Culture was planned, which was more than a museum, rather a centre of local cultural life. After 1920 and the Trianon Treaty, when Arad officially became part of Romania, the museum of relics didn’t essentially change, nor did its collection sustain losses. Over time the museum in the Palace of Culture assumed broader tasks and the structure of the collection changed. Following the Second World War, the 1848-49 mementos could be viewed for some time, then were exiled to storage. They were not forgotten, but were shrouded in the mist of the past. Much time had to pass before – at least virtually – the collection was freed from its prison storage and became an object of study for specialist analysis and publication. The collection could still not be viewed by the public. It is not known what the museum plans to do with its legacy, but it is hoped that it will soon be on public display, in the manner of the museum’s other holdings. The Complexul Muzeal Arad (literally the Arad Museum Complex) is today a county museum collecting and exhibiting in relation to five areas. It wasn’t always thus. On 13 January 1891, the Arad Kölcsey Association, which had been founded a decade earlier, established the museum committee whose main task was to collect and later present documents relating to the events of the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence. The collection, under the name National Museum of Relics from the Freedom Struggle, quickly developed into one of Hungary’s most significant specialist collections.