From the Museum's Web:
History of the building
The building in which the Museum of Ethnography is now housed was originally built by Alajos Hauszmann (1847-1926) for the Ministry of Justice. As such, its grand style and richly ornamented interior reflect the majestic and powerful place Hungary's government occupied in Europe at the time. Sitting opposite the Parliament in Kossuth tér, its grand, stone-clad facade is ornamented with columns and statuary, and above, with a three-horse chariot holding the figure of the guiding spirit of the enlightenment.
Once through the dimly lit, restrained foyer, however, visitors find themselves amidst the splendour of the main hall. Grand staircases, classical columns of multi-coloured marble, stucco and gilt decorations and a huge ceiling fresco make the importance of this building and its original function clear.
After World War II, damages to the building were repaired and the entire palatial construction renovated by the architect Elemér Csánk. In 1950 the Institute of the Hungarian Labour Movement moved into the building. Later, in April 1957, it was occupied by the Institute of Party History and the Hungarian National Gallery. The Museum of Ethnography moved in in 1973.
The museum split formally from the National Museum to become an independent institution of national reach in 1947. The museum's collections were moved from one location to another until 1975, when the museum was finally given a permanent home at its current location opposite the Houses of Parliament. The building in which the museum now found itself had been constructed in 1896 based on a design created by Alajos Hauszmann, and had originally functioned as the Hall of the Supreme Court. In 1949, however, it was made an institute of the working class movement, until the newly founded National Gallery moved in in 1957. The National Gallery's move to the Buda Castle in 1975 finally allowed the Museum of Ethnography take up residence in the heart of the city, where its numerous exhibitions have served the purposes of public education ever since.
The museum's first permanent exhibition at its new location was opened in 1980 under the title "From Prehistoric Societies to Civilisations". The articles it presented were taken from the museum's international collection and were displayed until 1995 when the exhibition was disassembled for the purposes of restoration. The opening of the permanent exhibition of the Hungarian collection was delayed until 1991 due to institutional difficulties.
The Museum of Ethnography's exhibition entitled Folk Culture of the Hungarians depicts the everyday life and festivals of the Hungarian peasantry in a display occupying thirteen rooms. Items on exhibition were collected between the end of the 18th century and World War II from territories inhabited by ethnic Hungarians.
The exhibition was refurbished in the year of the museum's anniversary and, with the addition of new multimedia technologies, has been made more colorful and spectacular than ever before.
The Budapest Museum of Ethnography, one of Europe’s most prestigious social science museums, houses more than 200,000 ethnographic artifacts, coupled with a unique archive of photographs, manuscripts, folk music recordings, and films. In addition to its incomparable collection on Hungarian folk culture, the museum holds the largest body of material on foreign cultures in the country and is also an important focal point for research in contemporary cultural studies.
Since around the turn of the millennium, the Museum of Ethnography has served as one of the nation’s most important institutions for research in museology. In recent times, the museum’s focus on Hungarian peasant life and the cultures of distant continents has been expanded to include various projects aimed at documenting contemporary social phenomena, while efforts toward the analysis and digitization of individual collections have also been stepped up. At present, nearly 40% of all artifacts are viewable online through the Museum’s Web site. Other recent activities include the launch of new series of books, the development of research projects, the organization of successful exhibitions both in Hungary, and abroad, and the hosting of a variety of museum education programmes.
Pursuant to Government Decree 1866/2015 (XII.2), in 2019, a new museum building in Ötvenhatosok Square is to be constructed as part of the City Park Budapest Project, while the museum’s collections are to be moved to a new National Museum Restoration and Storage Centre in Szabolcs Street.
The pictures that are shown in this entry were taken by me and show part of the folk culture collection of the museum: Through these pictures, you can obtain a wonderful explanation of the history of the Hungarian Folk.