Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral

Pomorski i povijesni muzej Hrvatskog primorja Rijeka

Education Department

Had the muses known how many years were needed for education and learning to become an integral component of the museum activities, they would certainly have distributed the tasks differently. At the session held on 3 May 1889, and having probably had in mind the etymology of the Greek word museion which refers to the place where science is taught and promoted, the members of the Commission charged with the establishment of the museum and library in Rijeka stressed that the goal of the museum is not only to satisfy the curiosity of the public, but also to educate.1
Thus was education designated as one of the main aims of the Museum, and this has remained prescribed by the Law on Museums to this day. Count Vicenzo de Domini, professors Arturo Dalmartello, Pietro Zambra, Giorgio Viezzoli, Santo Pilepich, Aladar Fest, Giovanni Matisz, Dr. Giorgio Catti, Pietro Geresky, P. Matcovich, Ernesto Brelich and engineer Isidor Wauchnig shared the vision of the museum as an institution which, thanks to its rich and diverse collections, but also its social mission, plays a crucial role in the education of the public which it serves. Nevertheless, years went by in which the educational potential of the heritage was nearly neglected, and the main feature of an exhibit – that of bridging the yesterday, today and tomorrow thanks to the abundance of its messages – remained unrecognized. The path inadvertently paved by renowned Rijeka intellectuals lead to the establishment of the Education Office in the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral only in 1966.
Since then, thanks to the enthusiasm of the first museum educator Ante Meštrović, the Museum’s educational activity has, in spite of numerous difficulties, obstacles, and at times lack of understanding, to this day been developed and harmonized with the educational curricula of pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions seeking higher quality, better planned and continued cooperation. The permanent display and occasional thematic exhibitions which bring the richness of the collections held in one of the most beautiful architectural achievements of the late 19th century closer to the wider public make the Maritime and History Museum a mandatory venue where one becomes acquainted with the beauty of the heritage, and comes to appreciate its value and the exceptional role played by its keepers.
Following the contemporary museological trends, the Museum undertakes various types of activities with the visitors, becoming an attractive site of learning and entertainment, as well as a source of accurate, dynamic, updated and interesting information. Knowledge of the world of the past and its secrets can be acquired by way of standard but irreplaceable guided tours of the permanent display and occasional exhibitions, slide lectures, playrooms, workshops and seminars. The Museum is often turned into a merry and vibrant meeting ground for large numbers of children sharing similar interests and participating in activities such as planning “mini” children’s exhibitions to accompany the “big” ones and their solemn inaugurations, hunts for treasures hidden within the display or joint discussions of secrets of the “archaeological finds” located in the courtyard of kindergartens.
In the Museum, countless preschoolers make their first small step into the world of their predecessors, many elementary school students establish their first contact with the original material evidence of the history of Rijeka and Primorsko-Goranska County, while high school students uncover their own cultural heritage. Some of them who as students had decided on their life’s calling precisely in this palace in which the history of Rijeka and Croatia was written, have become renowned experts and admirers of heritage.
Keeping track of the needs and interests of various target groups of visitors, we have become an integral and inevitable part of the identity of Rijeka and the County. Every day, increasing numbers of youths search for their own roots in the Museum reassuring us in our conviction that our heritage is left in good hands – those who will know how to recognize and preserve the real values, although frequently surrounded by the distorted ones. This is true art.