The Popular Technology’s Museum is located three kilometers away from Sibiu, in the south, on the highway between Sibiu and Rasinari. You can get to the museum by car, by bus or by tram. The dreamscape in Dumbrava Sibiului (Sibiu’s Grove), made a famous Dutch museum curator Bernet Kempers to call the museum in Sibiu as "the most beautiful open air museum in Europe". The traditional buildings can be found in sunny meadows of a cool forest. The water mills areput in motionby the waters of a little river and a lake completes the landscape.
The museum covers 96 hectares and it is crossed by about 10 kilometers of parkways. In its space, 300 buildings can be visited and over 15,000 of traditional objects can be admired. The first monument brought to Sibiu’s Grove in 1963, was a hydraulic mill. This mill can be found on the museum’s logo. The collection was developed in the coming years, and the museum was opened to the public in 1967. In 1971, the museum was completed by the construction of farmhouses and workshops. In 1989, a section of public and social use monuments - church, school, tavern and bowling alley - was added.
The transcript of the documentary bellow:
History of The Astra Museum
The Astra Museum is the result of the second half of the XIX th century’s cultural undertakings, wich begins with the „Transilvanian Association for romanian Literature and romanian Culture” foundation, Astra, in 1861. After Astra’s formation, one of the priorities was the establishment of a museum which would represent the romanian culture through the exhibition of habbits and occupations of romanian people. And so, the Ethnografic exihibit, organised in Brasov 1862, followed by the ones at Sibiu, in 1881 and 1902, constitutes one of the initial projects of romanian museology, which brought together the culture of both sides of the Carpathians and constituted the future theme of the Associatiation’s Museum. It is officially inaugurated in 1905, with debates on the symbolic names, „National Museum of cis-Carpathians”, „Our National Museum”, „National House”, „Ethnografic and Historical national Museum”, „Ethnografic Museum”.
The process initiated in 1862, and it was theoreticaly articulated by the elaboration of the methodology wich fundaments the exhibit’s theme, by a set of rules, selection and exhibitional criterias. The specification had as a purpose, the national representation of culture in the context of the political project, outlined after 1848 and completed in 1918.
And so, the second period of the XIX th century is labeled by a project experimentation wich had as a purpose the study and representation of the romanian village. Dissolved in 1950, the Astra’s Museum had survived through the „Traditional Art” section of the Brukenthal Museum, created in 1956 by Cornel Irimie.
The site’s establishment, 1962, of the exhibition’s ethnographic theme, in the place that Romulus Vuia suggested, made the museum’s profile, an institution connected to the professions and traditional practices, a „traditional craft and industries” museum, choosing in 1963 the name The Folk Technique Museum or ”Crafts , instalations and traditional Creation Museum”.
Concerned with the exhibition of the selected objects and monuments of folk technique, Cornel Irimie, the first manager of the museum, had given a great importance to reestablishing the connection with the natural enviroment from wich the objects and monuments were extracted and relocated. After 1970, Corneliu Bucur staked on an integration ideea of the monuments and their techniques in a larger context defined by the professions and comunity values of the romanian village, proposing an acquisitions programe on a medium term, with the purpose of building a thematic plan.
The third stage began with the administrative reorganization of the museum in 1990, under the current name „The Astra Museum of Folkloric and Traditional civilisation” and in the next 2-4 years it will end the exhibit’s theme established in the 70s.
In the past two years MCPT Astra begins to develop a new utterance for the formative pactice in traditional building technique, landscapeing, cultural animation, volunteering and punctual interventions in rural comunities, which constitutes the nucleum of a future masterpaln, build on the concept of cultural landscape. More exactly it will continue the trajectory began in 1905 in wich the important stages of the museum’s evolution currently allow this kind of approach.
Arranged and translated: Alina Alexe