McDaniel students had the great opportunity to visit the Hungarian National Museum, thanks to the new media professor, dr. Zoltán Szűts. On a beautiful autumn day, the class has been taken inside the museum’s walls, where students visited room by room with a lot of enthusiasm.
The museum, which is a very old and fascinating building, was founded in 1802. The museum includes areas of today’s Hungary but also of historical Hungary, such as Transylvania. Interestingly enough, the museum had many different functions. Originally, it was a library named National Szechenyi Library after its founder, Ferenc Szechenyi.
The museum is divided in many rooms according to the historical eras. Starting with the archaeology from prehistory, medieval times to the communist era, through Hungarian modern and contemporary history and war of the Independence, the students were able to visit all of them and write their opinions on their favorite ones.
One of the most exciting objects that can be found in the museum is the Bethoven’s piano where the visitor can also listen to music.
- The Hungarian Scientists that Impacted the 20th Century
by Samuel Oluwafemi
The visit to the Hungarian National Museum led to a point in the Hungarian history when the country boasted of many world renowned scientists such as Lorand Eotvos, Karman Todor, Teller Ede, Bekesy Gyorgy and others. Lorand Eotvos is one of the most famous 20th century figures in the country. One of his most notable works is the discovery of basic laws about the surface tension of liquids and gravity. His works also helped to shape Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. His display at the Hungarian National Museum shows the pride of an era when Hungary was dominant in the field of science.
Teller Ede is another famous Hungarian scientist and physician that contributed immensely to the 20th century. He was also a pioneer in studying thermonuclear reactions. In addition to this, he made a significant amount of contribution to nuclear and molecular physics. Due to cutting edge work in the field of science, he was awarded the Fermi and Einstein prize.
Bekesy Gyorgy was another notable Hungarian scientist on display. He worked in the field of Biophysics. He was awarded a noble prize in the field of medicine or physiology in 1961. This was mainly because of his contribution to the discovery of the physical mechanism of tenesmuses in the cochlea.
A notable trend that can be seen amongst most of the scientists is that at some point they all left the country of Hungary to continue their works in other western countries abroad.
- Habsburg Era in Hungary
by Ming Huang
Just as the famous saying goes: “We came, we saw, we conquered.” This could very well be the motto of the takeover the Ottoman Empire enforced upon Hungary in the year 1526. Under the leadership of Sultan Suleiman I the Ottoman Empire attacked and destroyed the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohacs, which is in the south side of Hungary. King Louis II, the leader of the Hungarians died without a legitimate son as the heir to his throne, thus what happened next was a complex struggle for the throne of Hungary between two gentlemen; Janos Szapolyai and the Archduke Ferdinand I, the brother in law of the fallen king. They co-ruled the kingdom of Hungary for the next few months before the army of Ferdinand I overpowered that of Szapolyai’s in 1526-27. What came next was not only logical but inevitable; namely Szapolyai’s army was forced to consolidate his power into the Ottoman vassal state of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom(Transylvania).
I would like to end with an excerpt in regards to what one may find at the Hungarian National Museum about the Habsburg Era in Hungary. If one were to visit the museum, one must pay close attention to “Rooms” 6-12; as those are the rooms that display the above mentioned period of time in Hungarian history. In each room there are several fascinating displays of historical pieces of items. For example, the cockade that once belonged to the famous poet Petofi Sandor, or an authentic Ottoman Empire leather coat, can both be seen in rooms 6 and 12; respectively (all seen below):
“Sándor Petőfi is one of the most significant and influential figures in Hungarian literature. As one of the leaders of the Youths of March who sparked the 15 March 1848 Revolution and later on as a martyr of the 1848–49 War of Independence, Petőfi has become a central figure in the legendry of the nation. His life has become the subject of a cult at least as much as his poetry has. Featuring the national colours, the cockade seen here was, according to the document of attestation, in Sándor Petőfi’s possession.”(Hungarian National Museum.
- The communist era
by Eugen Csaba Berecz
Being a part of the Eastern Bloc, Hungary after the second world war was lead by the ‘socialist workers party’, and was heavily influenced by the USSR. The major turning point happened in 1956, also labeled as the end of the Stalinist era, when a group of students lead an uprising that actually ended in Russian intervention and over 20000 people’s blood was shed.
This era of communism is also portrayed and a memory of it is kept in the Hungarian National Museum. It is not as extensive as some other parts of the exhibition, however, it is arguably one of the most crucial, and most heavily contributing time periods in Hungarian history.
Nevertheless, inside the rooms dedicated to the socialist era of Hungary many interesting things can be found. The very first thing which greets us is a giant statue of Stalin, and old memorabilia from the time period, mostly military artifacts. If you take a walk around, one can find examples of living rooms and arranged offices, typical of the time period. Interesting objects such as vinyl players and old TVs are contained in these rooms. There were also some interesting newspaper articles and pictures of great politicians at the time. It is important to note that in those times communist leaders used to kiss each other on the mouth, as depicted on certain pictures and articles, which I personally found very interesting in a funny way. The room also contained a piece of the fence which was on the border of Austria that was torn down after the weakening (but technically before) of communism in Hungary. There was also a nuclear shelter/bunker in the one of the room, with one of the smaller vehicles used by the Hungarian military outside it.
All in all, the Hungarian National Museum is a great representation of the rich history of Hungary. Whether your goal is to educate yourself about the Communist era, the Habsburg era, the various world renowned Hungarian scientists whom have impacted the 20th century and beyond; or just simply to delight in the captivating design of the museum building itself, the Hungarian National Museum is a must see place when visiting Budapest!