Resources > Petőfi Literary Museum
06 Jul 2011

Petőfi Literary Museum

The Petőfi Literary Museum was founded in 1954 with the aim of collecting and preserving records of Hungarian literature. The name of the Museum presented itself naturally, since the poesy of Sándor Petőfi, who died young in the 1848–49 War of Independence, symbolises Hungarian poetry to the general reader both within and beyond the borders of the country.

The task of the new, national museum was not only to process and preserve the inherited collections under modern conditions, but also to collect materials of museum value from contemporary Hungarian literature. Acquisition is generally characterised by conscious, scholarly-founded, ideology-free expansion. Even today we work hard so that the writers’ and poets’ legacies, correspondence, libraries, sound and video recordings, photographs, furniture, personal belongings, etc., the documents of the editorial offices of literary periodicals and literary-type publishing houses – that is, the representatives of Hungarian literature both within and beyond the borders – should become part of our collection.

Besides the collection departments – the Manuscript Archive, the Library, the Art and Relics Collection and the Audiovisual Library – the newly created Public Relations Department and the Marketing Department organise the Museum’s programmes.

The Museum’s tasks have included the supervision of literary collections and exhibitions in areas outside Budapest ever since the institution was established. As a result, the Museum of Literature Petőfi has become an institution with nationwide authority in the field of Hungarian literary museology; it offers help with the organisation of exhibitions in memorial houses and memorial rooms in areas outside Budapest, and also remains in touch with memorial places abroad.

The Museum administrates the exhibitions and collections of our three provincial branches: the Kassák Museum, the Endre Ady Memorial Museum and the Jókai Memorial Room.

Since its establishment, the Museum of Literature has organised almost 500 exhibitions and issued more than 300 scholarly and popularising publications and exhibition catalogues. We hope that our work over the past fifty years has earned us a position in scientific life. We make use of the intellectual value of our collections, catalogues and databanks in critical editions, philological and textological research. Our museologists participate in university education as lecturers, and our volumes of essays and studies appear in the technical literature of cult research and literary museology.

The Museum's international relations extend to all countries which have literary museums. The ICLM (International Committee of Literature Museums) a branch of the ICOM (International Council of Museums) established under the aegis of UNESCO, brings together representatives of museums of literature and music from all over the world and provides venues for annual meetings and exchange of experience.