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June 28, 2022

Brukenthal – the oldest museum in the country, on the verge of collapse

Literally collapse, that is… The Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, a national landmark is currently in dire need of rehabilitation, but may become a victim of recession, as, according to Adevarul daily, there is no money for it.

Under the Culture Ministry’s direct administration the museum has been patiently waiting for funding in a project that has been initiated four years ago. Although this is one of the most internationally visible monuments in Romania, the Brukenthal is constantly degrading and is in danger of collapsing any day now. There is no money for this, explains museum curator Adrian Sabin Luca, quoted by Adevarul daily, although most of the rehabilitation projects have been approved. Among these projects there is the Altemberger House wall consolidation and the building of a central storage room within the Trophy Yard. According to the same source, of all the architectural ensemble, the Brukenthal Palace itself is in the worst condition.

In its good days, a “crown jewel to the ensemble,” the palace is almost down. “Last year in August, one of the front atlantes’ arms fell. Something is always falling, “ Luca said.

Roughly a RON 15 M would be necessary for the most urgent rehabilitation works, and the Culture Ministry should be the one appointing it. According to curator Luca, the Ministry hasn’t allotted any rehabilitation funding to the museum, over the past two years.

The Brukenthal National Museum is housed in the palace of Samuel von Brukenthal – who was Habsburg governor of Transylvania and who established its first collections around 1790. The collections were officially opened to the public in 1817, making it the oldest institution of its kind in Romania. It is a complex of six museums, which, without being separate administrative entities, are situated in different locations around the city and have their own distinct cultural programmes. The Art Galleries are located inside the Brukenthal Palace and include a number of about 1,200 works belonging to the main European schools of painting, from the 15th to the 18th century: Flemish-Dutch, German and Austrian, Italian, Spanish and French Schools. The Galleries also include collections of engravings, books, numismatics, and minerals. The Brukenthal Library is also located inside the Brukenthal Palace. At the moment it comprises almost 300,000 library units (manuscripts, incunables, rare foreign books, old Romanian-language books, contemporary books and specialized magazines).

The Museum of History is part of a building which is considered to be the most important ensemble of non-religious Gothic architecture in Transylvania. The museum initially focused its activities on representing the historic characteristics of Sibiu and its surroundings, but in time it has come to reflect the entire area of Southern Transylvania.

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