The Hungarian National Museum in Budapest has been a family favorite for many years. Families of all sizes, ages, and art interest levels can happily spend time inside the museum and will come away having learned something new. One of the oldest museums in Hungary, the museum was founded in 1802.

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It focuses on Hungarian art, history, and archaeology and even expands to some areas that are outside of Hungarian borders (like Transylvania). It is a totally separate entity from the Hungarian National Gallery. The museum is housed in a building built in the neoclassical architectural style purposefully for the museum in 1837. The museum is now so well known that some of the scenes from the movie Evita were filmed outside on the steps. Historically, the museum played a part in a few political issues, as well as playing a significant role in the Hungarian Revolution. There are seven permanent exhibitions at the gallery, and thousands of guests visit on an annual basis.

Permanent Exhibits

The museum is home to a variety of permanent exhibits, temporary exhibits, and touring exhibits. Below are a few of the highlights from the permanent exhibitions.

? Coronation Mantle - One of the prize exhibits at the museum is a coronation mantle that has been worn by multiple Hungarian monarchs during their coronations to become king. The mantle was made by King/Saint Stephen the First and his wife Gisela in Bavaria in 1031. The mantle is bell-shaped chasuble was made in a single piece and was altered to its current form later. The fabric on the mantle is Byzantine silk with a rosette pattern and was sewed using gold thread. The back of the mantle features a cross in the shape of a y with raised arms.

? East and West - This exhibit takes guests through the history of the Hungarian people from 400 BC to 804 AD. Featuring relics from the earlier millennia of Hungary from the early times through the Avar age, this architectural exhibit is divided into ten categories - Paleolithic/Mesolithic, Neolithic/Copper Age, Bronze Age 1, Bronze Age 2, Iron Age, Roman Period, Early Migration - Huns and Germanic People, Avar, Karoling, and Hungarian Conquest Periods.

? History of Hungary Part One - Focusing on Hungarian history from its foundation until the Middle Ages (1703), guests can walk through the major events in the medieval period with the help of some outstanding and unique artifacts. The exhibit focuses on eight sections - Age of the House of Arpad Kings, Age of the Anjou Kings, Age of the Sigismund of Luxembourg and Janus Hunyadi, Villages and Towns in the 2nd half of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, Ages of Matthias Hunyadi and the Jagiello Kings, Hungary splitting into three parts, Transylvania and Royal Hungary, and the expulsion of the Ottomans.

? History of Hungary Part Two - Finishing up the exploration of Hungarian history, this section starts where part one left off and continues through modern times. It focuses more on cultural changes instead of history.

? Roman Lapidary - The final permanent exhibition features stone relics housed in a space located underneath the southern courtyard, as well as education guests about funeral customs.

Check the museum website for information about opening hours and days, as well as cost for admission.

Educational Opportunities

The museum offers more than 60 different educational programs that were designed for school age children. There are six different categories of educational opportunities available - family programs, museum lessons for school groups, time telling museum tales built for kindergarteners, drama education, other museum adventures, and museum publications directed at children. The most popular option are the school group museum lessons, which allows classes of up to 30 students to spend up to an hour and a half with the museum staff. A group fee applies, and reservations must be made more than a month in advance. Contact the staff for additional information and to schedule.

The family programs are just as diverse and educational in a slightly less structured way. From renting a “discovery” backpack to take around during the trip (contains various museum related activities and games), to birthday parties, there is something for every family member that is both fun as well as being educational.

Dining and Shopping

The museum offers a small buffet of easy to eat snacks and drinks for visitors who get hungry or thirsty during a trip to the museum. All food and drinks must be consumed in the designated area to protect the art. There is also a museum gift shop full of books, commemorative plates and cups, jewelry, and other items that relate to the art and history in the museum.

Hungarian National Museum, Hungary 1088 Budapest Muzeum krt. 14-16, Phone: +36-13-27-77-00

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