“A place where questions give rise to good, precise, sincere answers…”

Lajos Kemecsi, the new director of the Museum of Ethnography

MúzeumCafé 35.

During the past ten years Lajos Kemecsi was head of museology and later scientific director at the open-air village museum, known as the Skanzen, in Szentendre. Late last year he was appointed director of the Museum of Ethnography in central Budapest. He regards it important for the new circumstances, as well as the economic, social and ethnic changes and conflicts of the past two decades to feature in the institute’s work, since the Museum of Ethnography should adopt an opinion-forming and value-communicating role in responding to these issues. The collection continues to be the responsibility of ethnographers, but today the task of an ethnographical-anthropological public collection has become increasingly complex. Traditional field work and collecting continue to remain important, but ethnographic work has expanded with many new possibilities. With its huge collection of objects and its database, the Museum of Ethnography preserves national cultural values, while at the same time holding similarly very valuable, rich international material. This large, comprehensive collection presents huge possibilities for researchers today. In the next five years the museum will stage exhibitions which will help in the preparation of a new permanent display scheduled for 2018. In the new museum being planned there will be the possibility of establishing an impressive depository which can be viewed. The museum’s collecting strategy should also be rethought. Preservation remains a task, but precision has to be applied in order to distinguish the museum’s own field of collecting and what can be done in cooperation with others in its network. To date the Museum of Ethnography has not had a collection strategy. A basic document rectifying that is currently being prepared.