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MEMOBOX: first 50 years of Ethnographic museum of Istria

21.12.2012 - 31.1.2014

In search of authenticity

An ethnographic view of Istria: the first collections

The first collections of items of everyday usage from Istria, which in a museum receive the meaning of ethnographic items, were collected by Austrian ethnographers (describers) and ethnologists (scientists). Their approach to Istria, at the level of an idea, was a combination of fascination with, for them exotic, Ćići (Romanian minority, seen as a people uncorrupted by the civilization and at the level of development Austria had in the past) and the emphasis of the Istrian multiculturality (which was compared to the one which could be encountered throughout the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy). For the needs of the Viennese Ethnographic Museum they preferred to collect multicoloured ceramics (originating outside Istria, but used in it) and traditional clothes, thus shaping topics which would become unavoidable inside ethnographic museums in the coming decades. Their ethnographic papers and travel pieces but also drawings and photographs, contributed greatly to the shaping of a stereotype on the Istrian culture and its exponents. Such stereotypes outlasted the Austro-Hungarian Empire.



1946 Testimonies of the Slavicity of Istria – exhibition on the topic of delimitation on the occasion of the arrival of the international Delimitation Commission for Istria; 1952 Society for History and Cultural Issues of Istria in Pazin started a campaign aimed at collecting museum items for the future museum; 1955 Bauer: Proposal to establish the People's Museum in Pazin; 1956 National Committee of Pazin Community decided to found City museum of Pazin; 1957 Ethnographic Collection, Archaeological Collection and Culture and History Collection were opened; 1960 the name City museum of Pazin was changed into People’s Museum of Pazin; 1961 Ethnographic Collection was opened. Traditional instruments and traditional costumes became part of the permanent ethnographic; 1962 People's Museum renamed to Ethnographic Museum of Istria; 1980 Ethnographic Museum of Istria annexed to the Centre for Culture and Education of Pazin; 1986 Permanent exhibition completed by the authors M.Ivetić and L.Zrnić; 1989 permanent exhibition amended with the exhibition of Traditional Woodworking in Istria, by the author Mira Francetić; 1994 The Assembly of the Region of Istria adopted the Decision on the establishment of the Ethnographic Museum of Istria, which continued to operate as an independent organisation; 1997 Permanent exhibition amended with the exhibition of Blacksmiths and Smithery, by the author Mira Francetić.



The Centre for Intangible Culture of Istria of the Ethnographic Museum of Istria was incorporated at Pićan in 2011. The Centre's activities are dedicated to the research, documenting, caring and popularisation of the intangible culture of Istria. The Centre has established a new communication with the members of the local communities and made them its active co-operators in the definition of a model to be used as the basis for consideration of their cultural identities. The members are also given space for creation and education.
CENKI is equally dedicated to the rural and the urban environment to record and question the knowledge and the practice of the intangible culture of Istria.