“We are managing 210,000 objects”

Réka Szekrényesy, head of Collections Management at the Museum of Ethnography

MúzeumCafé 49.

Budapest’s Museum of Ethnography collects, archives, preserves, researches and exhibits traditional and modern objects of Hungarian and foreign communities in order to understand cultural diversity and changing identities. The formation of the museum is linked with the appointment of JánosXántus to head the then Department of Ethnography at the National Museum. Xántus was originally a lawyer and an officer during the Hungarian War of Independence. He began researching natural history as an emigrant in America. The museum became independent in 1947 and eventually found a home in 1975 in the former Supreme Court building opposite parliament. Now it is preparing for another move. Its exhibitions will be accommodated in the City Park as part of the Liget Project. RékaSzekrényesy, who has worked in the museum for nearly 25 years, is the collections manager. Preparing for the move, she and her colleagues are working on the details of storing and transport, which require the close cooperation of restorers, collections managers and curators. As a collections manager, RékaSzekrényesy helps with exhibitions. She receives newly purchased objects and registers data. She prepares items for restoration and assists researchers. Collections managers were earlier attached to curators, but later the museum management decided to set up an independent group of collections managers and she was appointed its head. The arrival of digitization was a milestone for the museum. They manage more than 210,000 objects, must often find them in the database, search for an object, solve mixed up inventory numbers, collect items of identical functions. It used to be a huge job at the time of paper-based records, but today is far simpler.