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Museum of Roma Culture presents complete Roma history

Brno, 25.8.2011 4:01, (ROMEA)

The Museum of Roma Culture in Brno is set to become the first in the world to present a permanent exhibition on the history of the Roma, covering life in their ancient homeland of India through today. Curators at the museum are completing their plans for a permanent exhibition on the topic. The museum already familiarizes visitors with the history of the Roma through its current permanent exhibition which describes the fates of members of the ethnic group after 1939 only. The new exhibition rooms will map an earlier period, Lucie Křížová told the Czech Press Agency.

The Museum of Roma Culture is the only one of its kind - no other museum devoted exclusively to Romani culture exists anywhere else in the world. The museum was founded just after the 1989 Velvet Revolution by Romani intellectuals, most of whom had been part of the creation of the Union of Gypsies-Roma (Svaz Cikánů- Romů) in 1968, when the idea for the museum was first conceived. After 1989, the idea was actively implemented, but employees had to wait many years for their own building. Now they have a headquarters in Bratislavská street in Brno, a neighborhood with many Romani residents.

Křížová says the museum is now working on the last construction alterations to the new exhibition spaces. As of September, the exhibition designers will start putting objects on display. The new rooms will be open to the public in December. The permanent exhibition will be open to the public and to school groups, who visit the museum already.

The new permanent exhibition will be in six rooms covering 350 square meters. The displays will start with images from India at the end of the first millennium. People will see Indian clothing and other objects ordinarily in use and will learn about the cult of the goddess Kálí. The second room is devoted to Romani people as nomads against whom medieval towns shut their fortresses. "The main motif of the second room is an original wagon with original equipment," Křížová said. The exhibit will also give visitors information about the internal organization of the Romani community in those days, their customs, and their traditional crafts. The next part of the exhibition will be devoted to Romani history during the 19th century and the First Republic era and will include a circus tent.

The designers are promising an interactive exhibition with a minimum of static display cases. Visitors will be mainly impressed by the atmosphere created in each individual room. For those not be satisfied with basic information only, there will be a touch-screen computer enabling further study of the objects on display.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, jb, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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