Recent history

Recent history. Since the museum’s inception, documenting the recent past has been considered a main focus of research. Studies in this field are carried out using the specific research techniques of oral history and historical events (World War I or II, collectivisation, anti-communist resistance, the years of transition, etc.) are then brought to the public’s attention from the perspective of the direct participants in the events, starting from the events imprinted in their memories or on the documents they left behind. 


First of all, it is a question of urban ethnology research, a direction that has given rise since the 1990s to several workshops carried out in partnership with French ethnologists, but also to specific publications, such as the book by Irina Nicolau and Ioana Popescu, O stradă oarecare din București (An ordinary street in Bucharest), 1999, or thematic issues of the magazine MARTOR (no. 17/2012), a direction continued later through temporary exhibitions, such as the exhibition Pachetul de acasă (The home package).


Then there are several oral history documentations, which involve documenting recent social and cultural contexts through recourse to unofficial documents and social memory. Such are the projects initiated by Irina Nicolau on anti-communist resistance (e.g. the 1993 publication – Arnăuțoii – History of a family from Nucșoara), but also the research on Bucharest in the 1980s or 1990s, the results of which were published in several thematic issues of MARTOR magazine (no. 5/2000; no. 7/2002; no. 8-9/2003-2004; no. 10/2005). Other oral history themes are: the promotion of research on the Bucharest Sociological School (see MARTOR no. 3/1998), or the history of the Balkans (see MARTOR no. 6/2001).


The Stone House project, funded by the European Commission’s CULTURA 2000 programme, is also part of the oral history approach. It is dedicated to researching history, and in particular the history of the noble families of south-eastern Europe and the communities in which they lived, especially in the community of Herești (Giurgiu county), where, until 2013, the MNȚR administered the architectural monument of the Stone House of Udriște Năsturel (17th century). More about Herești and the project carried out in 2006-2007 can be found in the pages of MARTOR magazine (no. 12/2007). 


Another example is the research carried out by Mirela Florian, Scrisori de pe front (2017), a successful volume that has been reissued (2018), in which the letters sent by soldiers during the First World War are grouped and from which the longing and love for the loved ones, the suffering and deprivation of all kinds, overwhelmingly present, emerge.