Budapest Guide: Hungarian National Museum
Hungarian National Museum was one of the places I visited, while in Budapest. It provides a great introduction to Hungarian History and the museum is manageable enough, so you don’t have a headache at the end of your visit.
The museum is divided into defined historic periods, so you can either choose the historic route from ancient times to the modern day or just concentrate on a section which appeals to you most.
I normally skip early history sections in a museum, as I do not find them particularly interesting, but I definitely made a mistake here, leaving Archaeological section till the end. Museum curators have done a fantastic job! You will see recreated houses, hoards and plenty of explanations in English to go with the displays.
Another highlight was a room dedicated to the Hungarian Coronation Mantle. You actually have to be let into the room by a security guy, as he will put display lights on. When there are no visitors, this room is kept in a complete darkness. Unless there is someone else is in the room, it is like having a tet-a-tet date with the mantle, which is beautifully embroidered with gold threads.
If you enjoy ethnography, the displays on folk activities and costumes are fascinating and allow you to learn a little bit more about how people lived in the countryside.
There is a section dedicated to the collection of Roman stonework with plenty of artefacts and a huge floor mosaic, which one can look at for hours.
Ferenz List is the most well-known Hungarian composer. The museum has a whole room dedicated to him, where you can see his piano, several personal things and listen to the music in the headphones in a soundproof room. I thought it was a nice touch, as you can sit down, appreciate the music and have a little break in your visit.
The area dedicated to the 20th century and communism years transported me back to my childhood, with so many recognisable objects. I did not really need to read any of the descriptions and it got me thinking that I got to experience a remarkable time, which is not likely to be repeated any time soon.
I also wanted to mention that the museum building is beautiful. If you want to take a break, you can either sit in the common areas and appreciate wall paintings or go to a cafe, which is located next to the Roman section of the museum in the basement.
Hungarian National Museum was a delight to visit and it is definitely should be on your itinerary in Budapest. It will give you an informed overview of Hungarian history, which might prompt you to learn a bit more about the exhibits that you saw or subjects that are covered by the Museum.
My visit was hosted by National Hungarian Museum but all opinions are my own.