The Petőfi Birthplace and Memorial Museum in Kiskőrös

MúzeumCafé 25.

Petőfi’s place of birth opened as a museum in its present form in 1997 and the following year it was joined by the local Slovak folk art house. The idea was to introduce the poet in the broadest possible way. Petőfi’s birthplace reflects a characteristic 19th-century family atmosphere; the collection of statues communicates a sense of internationalism; the museum presents the poet’s life and the subsequent Petőfi cult; while the pictures comprise works of art inspired by Petőfi. Starting in the refurbished museum you get an overview of Kiskőrös and can learn about the history of the Slovak settlement and local archaeological findings. Then comes a film about the poet’s life. It was all put together by Ferenc Kerényi, who throughout his life did a great deal for the rebirth of the museum. His outstanding efforts are today acknowledged in a display cabinet. “We have to thank him for so much,” says museum director Ilona Lucza. “It’s quite appropriate that he gets a place alongside those who have preserved the memory of Petőfi.” Ilona Lucza notes that they have managed to present interesting events. For example, in 2005 during the Night of Museums there was a real Slovak wedding feast, and last year Petőfi’s loves were brought to life as interpreted by Gábor Szigeti. Such events have attracted several hundred people and the popularity of the museum is continually growing. As a complement to that, this year it received the Museum of the Year award for the second time. Across the country there are only three museums which have won the award twice. “The competition involved an examination of the past five years in the course of which I myself was surprised to realise that we had accomplished so much in the recent past,” admits Ilona Lucza. “The award recognised the continuity of our work, our plans for the future and the process of our permanent development.”