The history of the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Civilization
The ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization, established in 1993 to represent the Transylvanian popular culture and civilization, is, first of all, the treasurer of the values inherited from the Association Museum, the first “national” museum of Romanians in Transylvania, opened on August 19, 1905, in Sibiu, through the efforts of ASTRA members.
ASTRA – The Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and the Culture of the Romanian People was founded in Sibiu, in 1861, with the aim of promoting material and spiritual Romanians. Six years later, a Museum of Significance was expected to be established, in order to know, preserve, enhance and popularize its own cultural heritage. In 1881, the great exhibition of ASTRA was opened in Sibiu, so that later, on August 19 – 28, 1905, the Museum of the Association was inaugurated in a “new Palace” in the Park, through a large ethnographic and cultural-historical exhibition. ASTRA (currently the headquarters of the ASTRA County Library, A building).
Starting with 1950, for ideological reasons, the Association Museum was disestablished, the entire heritage being transferred to the Brukenthal Museum, to be capitalized in 1957 (both the Romanian Museum of the Association and that of the Saxon Carpathian Society), by Cornel Irimie at the new Romanian Folk Art Exhibition of the Brukenthal Palace.
On September 2, 1990, the Ministry of Culture and the ASTRA Association (president, Prof. Dr. Dumitru Abrudan), agreed to give the Museum of Popular Technology (officially inaugurated to the general public on October 17, 1967) the surname ASTRA, which became the Museum of Traditional Popular Civilization. ASTRA. In this way, the direct affiliation and the patrimonial and programmatic continuity between the Museum of the Association and the ASTRA Museum (redivivus) were recognized, thus reconstituting the continuity of the oldest museum institution of the Romanians in Transylvania.
Today, the ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization is part of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, founded in 2001, with the largest ethno-museum structure in Romania, treating, distinctly, the specifics of Romanian, Saxon popular culture, but also of non-European peoples (within the Museum of Universal Ethnography “Franz Binder”). Structured in two compartments: Romanian Ethnography Department and Saxon Ethnography Department “Emil Sigerus”, the ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization has as main roles the thematic research of the popular culture and civilization from Transylvania; the scientific study of the collections and their capitalization through specific activities (publications, exhibitions, meta-exhibition and para-exhibition activities), carried out also within the Dr. Gheorghe-Telea Bologa Memorial Cultural Center from Noul Român, Arpașu de Jos village.