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Kastav Museum Collection

The Kastav Museum Collection is a separate part of the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral Rijeka, opened to the public in 1981 and renovated in 2005. The first idea of the establishment of a memorial collection dedicated to Vladimir Nazor, who worked for ten years in the Teacher’s School of Kastav (1908-1918) and whose work makes up one part of the rich culturalhistorical chronicle, turned into the idea to establish a complex of regional collections in Kastav. Thanks to former employees of the Maritime and History Museum and the engagement and dedication of the inhabitants of the Kastav region, 1,500 items were collected there: archaeological, ethnographical and cultural-historical materials as well as items relating to the National Liberation Movement during WWII. The modernised exhibition that was opened in 2005 presents the history of Kastav and its surroundings with approximately seven hundred exhibits dating from the Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic to the mid-20th century. It also emphasises the need to preserve local traditions, customs and crafts, and the libertarian spirit of the town and its people who had always fought for justice.

The archaeological collection represents the life and cultural tradition of the former inhabitants in the Kastav area and its surroundings. Here are exhibited flint tools from numerous caves in Kastav’s hinterland, important artefacts from the Copper Age (a sword from the 10th century BC found on Lokvina square) and rich finds of parts of clothes and jewellery from the necropolis in the Mišnica valley (4th - 2nd centuries BC). The diversity in the style and morphology indicates the role of Kastav as an important communication-trade station on the way to the pre-Alpine area and Etruria all the way to the Baltic Sea. The diverse and turbulent history of this region is documented in concentrated cultural-historical heritage reflected in the architectural assets. Valuable monuments (the feudal castle - residence of the Captains of Kastav, the town’s loggia, the parochial Church of St. Helena, Crekvina [Great Church]…) are presented in dialogue between copies of photographs of the older period (beginning of the 20th century) and those which represent the present situation (beginning of the 21st century). In this way the continuity of existence and the necessity for the preservation of this heritage were brought to light.

The ethnographic display represents a slice of life of a traditional home from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Here are represented decorative items of everyday use, various clothing and items relating to tailors and shoemakers. Homemade products were sold alongside other craft products on Bela nedeja (White Sunday), a fair and celebration of new wine which has been organised on every first Sunday in October in Kastav. The well-developed and well-known traditional crafts of Kastav were those of – the cooper, blacksmith, kettle-maker, carpenter, stonemason and basket maker - but in the middle of the 20th century with the changes of economic conditions they turned into occasional, hobby activities and gradually disappeared.

The cultural-historical display, the largest sub-collection, represents nation building, the culturaleducative engagement, the modernisation and the rise of the citizen’s society in the second half of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. In the promotion of the rights of the Croatian people in the Austrian province of Istria with Kvarner islands a special role was played by the Istrian Trefoil – the reformers Matko Laginja, Matko Mandić and Vjekoslav Spinčić, originally from the Kastav region. Important material, documents and photographs, emblems and flags of cultural-educative associations depict the rich social life of Kastav, which was the administrative, crafts and cultural centre of the micro-region. In Kastav and the surroundings at the beginning of the 20th century numerous societies were active: Istrian Fairy (Istarska Vila), branch of Croatian Falcon (Hrvatski Sokol), St. Michael, Patriot… Alongside the boys and girls public school in Kastav there was established the Worker’s School for qualified craftsmen and the Teachers School which was important for the development of Croatian educators in Istria. A rich social life is attested to by the activities of the Reading Room (the first Croatian reading room in Istria, founded in 1866) and numerous musical, theatrical, cultural and worker's associations. Also important are the works of Croatian writers who wrote in the local chakavian dialect, educational activities and student's works.

Part of the collection related to the National Liberation Front during WWII is thematically and spatially separated from the rest of the collection. It represents the spread of the labour movement, the actions, accomplishments and suffering of the inhabitants during WWII (1941-1945) until the liberation of Kastav on 3rd May 1945.

Curator: Tamara Mataija

Contact: +385 (0)51 213 578
E-mail: tamara@ppmhp.hr

Working hours:
by prior arrangement
 

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