Bucharest museum blues

A tale of three Bucharest museums.

The director of the Romanian National Art Museum (MNAR), Roxana Theodorescu, told various assembled officials on Wednesday that if they wanted to visit her museum they should do so ‘as quickly as possible,’ because at the rate the museum is having to hand back nationalised works of art to their former owners (from whom they were confiscated in the late 1940s) there will soon, in Theodorescu’s words, ‘not be much left to see.’ (Unlike the British Museum, another massive crime scene, the MNAR is actually handing stolen works of art back to their rightful owners).

It is no surprise then that the museum has for a couple of years now been trying (very successfully) to attract visitors to the amazing former royal palace (in which the museum resides) itself, opening up the former royal living quarters and throne room to guided tours on occasional weekends. These tours (which cost 20 lei per person) have been immensely popular and more are planned for 2015 (although there are no firm dates just yet). The museum’s website usually publishes details of any upcoming tours a couple of weeks in advance of their taking place. You need to reserve a place on a tour: you can call (+4) 021 314 81 19 for more information.

Further along Calea Victoriei at the Romanian National History Museum (MNIR), things are in an even worse state.

Theoretically home to an amazing number of exhibits spread over more than 60 rooms, only a handful are currently on public display. A couple of these (the copy of Trajan’s Column in the lapidarium, and the Romanian crown jewels in the basement) still, just about, make a visit here worthwhile, but the vast bulk of the museum is disappointingly closed, has been for some time (since 2002) and looks like remaining closed until at least 2020 while much-needed renovation and repairs are carried out on the building (a glorious neoclassical palace built in the 1890s). This report (also published on Wednesday) suggests that the museum will close entirely later this year, with the main attractions being moved elsewhere until work (for which funds are now allegedly available) is complete. The prospect of Romania’s National History Museum being closed for almost five years (and that’s if work is completed as scheduled) is not a particularly joyful one.

Still, at least you will be able to carry on taking photos of the utterly bizarre statue of Trajan on the building’s steps.


There is some good news on the museum front, however, in the shape of the Theodor Aman Museum on C.A. Rosetti, between Calea Victoriei and Bulevardul Magheru.

Closed for almost 10 years years it reopened last summer after much restoration and the interior looks better than ever. We were there on Wednesday.

Click for source.
Click for source.

The building which plays host to the museum is one of the finest remaining old residences in Bucharest, although blink and you will miss it, hemmed in as it is by tall blocks. Built in 1868 as a home and studio by painter Theodor Aman it includes a vast amount of the artist’s work: the many murals and frescoes are not the least of these. Look out too for the exterior decorations, the work of sculptor Karl Storck. One of Bucharest’s oldest museums, this place has been welcoming visitors since 1908. A charming treat, and really something of a must.

The museum is open 10am-6pm Wednesday – Sunday. Admission costs 5 lei for adults, while children, students and pensioners pay 2 lei. There is a photography fee of 15 lei (which we refused, on principle, to pay).

  • Crae

    The History Museum was always a little threadbare. If it closes, who will take the building? Is the closure a real estate power play?

  • anon
  • anon

    As long as they eventually reopen that will be awesome. After all Antipa turned out ok. I presume the others managed to secure EU cultural development funding to help with the costs finally.
    Shame that the ghost of communism is still plaguing progress with the handing back of stuff belonging to ancestors. That who policy retarded the restoration of many of Bucharest’s historic buildings.

    • Roger

      @anon ………. Your weird pro EUssr lies are staggering, so you only ”assume” the other places secured funding from the EUssr to help with costs ? That is one hell of a delusional ”assumption” ……. which actually translates as ‘I haven’t an actual clue but I’ll lie as it makes my beloved EU sound good’ ………….. problem is anon, millions of people aren’t listening to the squawking of the liberal lefties …….. Romania can be democratic and prosperous without the EU making it’s decisions much like Switzerland copes perfectly well 🙂

      • anon

        Roger, you really are a stupid idiot aren’t you?
        Antipa was a model restoration with the goal of attracting further EU funding for other museums as stated by Ponta himself.

        But since you’re never actually interested in a debate, and more interested in dancing like a monkey, all I will say is that I suggest you go and choke on a cock.

        • Roger

          @anon … Presume you typed your angry and homophobic reply whilst on a tram? 🙂 ….. Of course you now try and move the goal posts – and yet that wasn’t what you originally claimed – and now you’re angry 🙂

          • anon

            Keep dancing little monkey boy.

          • Roger

            @anon – what an articulate and mature reply from one as well educated and highly intelligent as you keep claim 🙂

          • anon

            Come back and talk about intelligence when you’ve mastered spelling and grammar.

          • Geronimo

            This is you two:


          • Roger

            @anon …… Ah but you see I’m not talking about my intelligence though (as you and others keep telling me I am a ill educated fool) ….. So it would make one wonder why you bother with such a buffoon – not least allow him to anger you 🙂

            Spelling and grammar jibe on a internet forum 🙂 Surely you can do better than that! Oh dear 🙂

          • Roger

            This is anon right here talking in his beloved EU

  • Ethan

    I remember my first trip to that big museum on Victorie… Seeing the display of human specimens in jars… That was a crazy museum back in the day.

  • Geronimo

    Do you know of anywhere that is licensed to make replicas of Brancusi work? I can’t quite afford an original but would love to get hold of a little statue

  • florin

    So where can we see the hamangia thinker statuetes?