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National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”, a brief history

National Village Museum
“Dimitrie Gusti”, a brief history


Legend National Village Museum "Dimitrie Gusti"

Legend National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”

Down on the Herastrau lakeside, right in the middle of Romania’s capital city, the wandering traveller will encounter an authentic Romanian village, rich in monuments and artifacts from the XVIIth century, all the way up to the XXth century, representative constructions originating from important ethnographical regions which have been granted a second life at the National Village Museum „Dimitrie Gusti”.


Traditional country house in Transylvania

Traditional country house in Transylvania

The idea of an open-air museum in Romania came about in the second half of the XIXth century. In 1867, Alexandru Odobescu, an eminent man of culture, suggests an exhibition on vernacular architecture pieces in a purposely designed pavilion during the Paris Universal Expo. A few years later, the savant Alexandru Țzigara Samurcas would advocate bringing to the National Ethnographic, Industrial, Decorative and Folk Art Museum of Bucharest a number of „complete authentic households from every important area inhabited by Romanian people”, a project which succeeded in 1909 with the showcase of a peasant home from the county of Gorj.


Europe, in the 1930’s, used to exhibit only two open-air museums: The Skansen Museum in Stockholm (Sweden, 1891) and the Bygdøy Museum in Lillehamer (Norway). Our country was host to the Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, from „Hoia” Park in Cluj City, founded in 1929 by professor Romulus Vuia, showcasing regional constructions, and the National Village Museum in Bucharest (today called the „Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum) inaugurated in 1936, exhibiting national constructions.

To bring about the fruition of the Village Museum, Professor Dimitrie Gusti, the founder of The Sociological School of Bucharest, underwent and sustained over a decade of intense theoretical research coupled with field work and curatorial experiments in order to fulfill a vision.


As head of the sociology department for the University of Bucharest, Dimitrie Gusti has organized between the years 1925-1935 several monographic interdisciplinary research campaigns on a large number of villages (Fundu Moldovei, Suceava County, Nereju – Vrancea County, Drăguș – Brașov County, Dragomirești – Maramureș County, Clopotiva – Hunedoara County, Runcu – Gorj County, Rușetu – Buzău County etc) aided by a team of specialists from a wide array of practices (sociologists, ethnographers, folk researchers, geographers, statisticians, doctors etc), also with the help of students.
National Village Museum “Dimitrie Gusti”, a brief history – photo on the top
Information source:

GO2 Romania Team / Freelancer / office(at)

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