PHOTO GALLERY: How did the first museum in Timisoara look like

The first public museum in the world, the British Museum, was open to the public in 1753. It was back then when people in Timisoara also started to show interest into preserving artefacts with a historical significance. We know, for instance, that,in 1774, the first floor of the Huniade Castle was home of a permanent exhibition of trophies dating back to the Ottoman wars period. It was after 100 years that Timisoara had its first museum.

Muzeul Banatean Strada Lonovici nr 8In 1872, Zsigmond Ormós, comis of Timisoara, founded the History and Archaeological Society. The patrimony was a collection of donations, most of them coming from Ormós himself, random archeological artefacts displayed in a room inside the nowadays Roman-Catholic Episcopal Palace. In 1882, the Wellauer House became home of the first Banat Museum.

Museum collections

Located on Lonovici Street No 8, today Augustin Pacha Street No 7, the Wellauer House was rebuilt in 1891, when a distinctive sign was added to its facade: a small statue of the Greek Godess Athena. In just two biggers rooms and seven smaller ones, the building hosted the History and Archaeological Society collections and the Natural Science Society collections. The place was too small and many objects were not even displayed, but kept in the attic or basement.

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In 1890, the Banat Museum had a History and Archaeology Collection, a Natural Science Collection, a Gallery, a Library and an Archive. In 1892, a Decorative Art department was added. The city needed a bigger building to host the museum, but it was only in 1948 that the Huniade Castle became home of the Banat Museum. The Lonovici Street building, the former museum, is nowadays the Romanian Academy Library in Timisoara.

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