Križevci Municipal Museum is a complex museum institution active
in the museum and gallery domain. Its activities include collecting,
processing, presenting and publishing historical, cultural and
artistic material as well as documents important for its operational
context, i.e. the town of Križevci and the neighbouring area.
On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the free royal town
of Križevci, a native collection was put on display in 1952.
Eventually it evolved into a museum and ten years later it was
relocated to the building of the so-called Pauline Inn, which
it still occupies.
The collection, i.e. the Museum, was aiming to present the public
with the rich and valuable history of the town and the surrounding
area. The idea had been born before: in 1934 the Society
of Friends of the Antiquity in the town of Križevci was
founded. Its main purpose was to collect items of historical
and museum value to be displayed in the future Museum.
The first attempt to found a museum in Križevci dates from the
end of the Second World War when the Ministry of Education (more
precisely, its Department of Culture and the Arts) recommended
the founding of a museum in March 1946. It was supposed to be
located in the castle of the Kiepachs, a local squire family,
and to include the complete castle inventory. A month later
the working group of the National Committee issued a decision
to found the museum but, unfortunately and for no apparent reason,
the plan was not carried out. It was only in 1952 that the collector
of antiques Dragutin Zajec received an order from the Town Council
to start the founding of the museum collection. He diligently
worked on it and donated a number of items himself. Even though
he was not a trained specialist, he performed the duties of
a museum curator for many years after the founding of the Museum,
until the art historian professor Vladimir Srimšek became the
first professional member of the Museum staff in 1968. He dedicated
most of his working life to adding new items to the Archaeological
and Ethnographic Collection, to starting the Gallery of Fine
Arts, to compiling the Gallery holdings and to redecorating
and revamping the Gallery and the exhibition spaces.
Today the rich holdings of the Gallery of Fine Arts illustrate
the development of painting (both amateur and professional)
in the Križevci area. Both the Museum and the Gallery of Fine
Arts are placed in historical buildings that form the oldest
layer of town buildings. The Museum is placed in an 18th-century
building built next to the Pauline monastery as an inn for its
visitors. The building is atypical for vernacular architecture
of the Križevci area and is reminiscent of the oriental type
of Balkan architecture: its façade is smooth and flat, its eaves
are emphasised and it was built according to an irregular U-plan.
An external staircase and an open wooden porch lead to the first-floor
rooms. The building acquired its present shape at the end of
the 18th century, which can be concluded from the inscription
1796 etched in the south portal. However, some parts
of the building date from earlier periods and its oldest part
is probably erected on the remnants of the walls that used to
surround the monastery land next to the south bastion of the
The Museum and its collections moved in the building in 1961
and during the next few years the building was adapted and adjusted
to its future purpose – exhibiting of Museum collections. The
last adaptation took place in 2002, when the outer façade and
the ground floor were revamped. In the same year the display
of the Archaeological Collection was redesigned and new display
cabinets were included in it. The permanent display in the five
first-floor rooms is a brief overview of the cultural, church,
trade, and traditional history of the town and the neighbouring
Next to the Museum, i.e. in its yard, there is an ethno-park
with representative examples of traditional architecture of
the area around Kalnik, such as a vine-dresser’s hut, a corn
silos with a straw roof, a wooden house, a baker’s oven, a barn,
a wine press, or a coach-house. The examples cited demonstrate
the importance of wooden building material, although stone is
also frequently used in the area around Kalnik.
The permanent display is placed on the ground floor and the
first floor and it occupies seven halls altogether. On the ground
floor there are the Archaeological Collection and the Arsenal
with a new permanent display, designed in 2002. The first floor
houses the displays of the Cultural and Historical Collection,
the Ethnographic Collection, the Sacral Collection, and the
Guild Collection, as well as a short overview of the social
and cultural life in Križevci at the end of the 19th and the
beginning of the 20th century. The overview is placed in a special
room and partially dedicated to people who played an important
role in Croatian culture and history (such as Ivan Zakmardi
Dijankovečki, Franjo Marković, Sidonija Rubido-Erdödy, Albert
Štriga, Dragutin Novak, the Kiepachs, Nina Vavra) and who were
born in the area or used to work there.
Temporary exhibitions are usually put on display in the building
of the Gallery of Fine Arts. The permanent display of the Gallery
can only be seen in summer, due to a large number of temporary
exhibitions held there throughout the year.
The Gallery is in the town centre and in close proximity to
the town park, which makes its atrium one of the nicest open
spaces in town and, therefore, the most suitable site for all
cultural events in summer.
In 2000 offices were placed on the ground floor of the building
to be used by the Museum management.
The building of the Gallery of Fine Arts (the so-called Parliament
Building) is one of the oldest buildings in Križevci. It
used to be near the south town doors, at the beginning of the
central street. Its style is that of the border-land Baroque
with simple ornaments and a massive mansard roof. It acquired
its present shape in 1984, when it was last altered to house
the Gallery of Fine Arts and its exhibits.
The Križevci Municipal Museum has become one of the most important
landmarks of the area: thanks to its permanent and temporary
exhibitions and to numerous events that take place on its premises,
it offers a visitor the chance to stroll through its rooms and
see the rich heritage of this town of history, culture and
the Statutes of Križevci.
(c) MDC, 2005. | design NOVENA