Thinking of the source

Péter G. Tóth, historian, ethnographer, new Head of Collections, Museum of Ethnography, Budapest

MúzeumCafé 18.

The Department of Ethnography and Cultural Anthropology at Pécs University underwent renewal in the 1990s. Several noted professors were invited to teach, including Éva Pócs who had been heading a project with Gábor Klaniczay for nearly ten years, exploring the sources of witchcraft and witch-hunting in the Early Modern Age. Since then the research, based on the co-operation of folklorists and historians, and launched in the ethnographic research centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, has expanded and ethnographers, historians, archivists and computer specialists have joined the group. Péter G. Tóth is among those. As a historian and ethnographer he became submerged in the world of witches, while as a museologist he was continually organising exhibitions in Veszprém from the mid 1990s, for example on the 150th anniversary of the 1848 War of Independence or the centenary of the foundation of the Dezső Laczkó Museum in 2003. Péter G. Tóth highlights objects in various ways. Within the framework of the Alpha programme he managed to renew the permanent exhibition of the Dezső Laczkó Museum in Veszprém. In connection with the exhibition Spirit …in objects … in places …in pictures, which has been running since 2006, he wrote that when objects enter a museum they separate from their earlier memory, their personal bond – the past they had earlier represented. “If we realise that a museum does not need socially sterile objects but requires the objective imprints of social phenomena, then these objects with strong personal relations can turn our institution, the museum, which was frozen by the 19th and 20th century elite as well as professionals, into a socially living organism again.