Timişoara’s reputation as a city of premieres continues to remain unflinched. This time, we are talking about an impressive collection of over 500 objects that Romanians used to buy before the year of ‘89, exhibited permanently in the basement of an old building from Timişoara. The Communist Consumer Museum is a premiere for Romania and can be visited without any charge whatsoever.
Most of the tourists are foreigners.
The museum was opened on the initiative of Ovidiu Mihăiţă, on May 16 2015, on the same date as the Museum Night national event. He says that the date was purely coincidental but that at the grand opening there were over 600 curious visitors. Since then, their account has been well kept in a register located at the museum entrance. “Most of the tourists are foreigners. On Sundays, however, the locals are rushing in, especially families. During the week we have all sorts of visitors.”
A great enthusiast of antiques, Ovidiu started gathering the objects for the future museum over 5 years ago. “It was a five year plan. I accomplished it in four and a half years, just like in the old times”, he tells us laughing. He gathered these things “from all over. From friends, from garbage, from the autumn clean up, from markets, basements, attics. From all over the country. And now more and more objects started to arrive. People are sending packets from all over the country. Even yesterday I received a package from Galaţi that weighed around 15 kilos. People find out about the museum and they send objects.”
Actually, the Communist Consumer Museum is a replica of a ‘70s apartment. From the living room, kitchen, bathroom and child’s room right to the hallway, every room is arranged with specific objects, that could be found on the shelves of shops from the Communist period.
Someone had to arrange this museum.
Ovidiu believes that any cultural institution, no matter if it’s arranged in a closet or a building the size of the Culture Palace of Iaşi, is made with good thought and good intentions.
Regarding the motivation of opening this place, he thinks that “someone had to arrange this museum. I believe that there are many things which should be made in this country and in this city, which the mayors, governments and presidents aren’t doing. They’re making fountains or organizing festivals. It’s the completely normal things that no one does. And then, we complain that we don’t have them. So, it was this happy context, that I was able to keep the objects, I had a place to store them and I knew many people to whom I could talk about the museum and who offered to contribute. Every one of them brought something for the museum, from just a pin to pieces of furniture made before the Revolution.”
Come on over!
The Communist Consumer Museum of Timişoara is located on the Arhitect László Székely street, nr 1, in the same building that hosts Scârţ Loc Lejer bar and Auăleu Theatre, and it is open daily. Entrance is free and Ovidiu’s message for us is pretty straightforward: “Come on over!”
Written by Alexandra Palconi
Translated by Doiniţa Spuză
Photo credit: Flavius Neamciuc