The museum collects, preserves, studies in a museological way and presents the Croatian national, cultural and historical background from the early Middle Ages to the present day. Although it has no permanent display because of lack of space, it has still for years via the organisation of occasional exhibitions presented to the public some of the museum’s collections and put on exhibitions from Croatian social, political, economic and cultural history.
The Croatian History Museum developed out of the former National Museum founded in Zagreb in 1846. It is located in the grand Baroque Vojković-Oršić-Rauch palace in the Upper Town built at the end of the 18th century. During the past the palace frequently changed owners and tenants, and was a reflection of the social and material condition of the aristocratic families.
On the front elevation there is the coat of arms of the Vojkovićes above the window in the attic. By chance, this was very similar to the coat of arms of the Oršić counts, who were the next proprietors. After them, the palace was owned by the baronial Kulmer family and then by the Rauchs, from whose time the preserved interior dates. In the large hall on the first floor there were once balls, concerts and theatrical performances at which members of the Croatian social elite of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries would gather.
After the city of Zagreb bought the palace from the last of the private owners in the 1920s, it became the seat of the mayors of Zagreb. It was allocated, as an interim solution, to the History Museum of Croatia, in 1959. When this institution was merged with the Museum of the Revolution of the Croatian Peoples in 1991, a new institution was formed, called the Croatian History Museum. The holdings consist of more than 140,000 museum objects, located in the palace and in the Meštrović pavilion.
The museum also has a library that is primarily meant for museum professions, but is also accessible to outside readers. It is an active publisher, in which way it presents the Croatian cultural heritage, and has to date publisher over thirty catalogues of the collections and forty catalogues of thematic exhibitions. The museum also operates outside Zagreb, that is, it takes care of the Ivan Goran Kovačić Memorial Museum in Lukovdol and the Museum Collection of Vis.
The Croatian History Museum
The Museum is situated in the old part of the town, in the representative baroque palace called Vojković-Oršić-Rauch, which was built at the end of the 18th century. In the course of the history the palace frequently changed its owners and its tenants and mirrored the social and the financial status of the aristocratic families. On the facade of the palace, there is the coat of arms of the Vojković family. It is a coincidence that it is similar to the coat of arms of the earls Oršić, who were the second owners of the palace.
After the Oršić family, the palace was owned by the baronial family Kulmer who were followed by the Rauchs, also barons. The interior of the palace from their time has been preserved. In the big ballroom on the first floor balls, concerts and theatrical performances were held, in which the representatives of the Croatian social elite of the 18th, the 19th, and the 20th centuries took part. After the Zagreb town had bought the palace from its last private owners in the 1930s, it became the residence of Zagreb mayors. In 1959 the palace was temporarily assigned to The History Museum of Croatia. After it had been merged with The Museum of the Revolution of the Peoples of Croatia in 1991, a new institution was founded - The Croatian History Museum.
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