2017. június 23., péntek   Zoltán napja


The archaeological collection of the museum is one of its oldest units. Gusztáv Varázséji Jr. in his university years was an intern at the Antiquity Department of the National Museum. When he moved back to Vác, his place of birth, in 1881, he came up with the idea of establishing a museum and carrying out the first excavations in the same year (Pogányvár). Following his early death the duty of extending the archaeological collection of the museum passed on to Ignác Tragor, member of the newly formed Museum Association of Vác.

The sudden growth of the collection is dated to the middle of the 20th century. This was the time when the large-scale excavations took off, the most significant of which took place at the gravel pit of Vác that started in 1969 and lasted for years. The large number of Celtic finds from the late Iron Age, as well as the ones recovered from the Avar cemetery of a few hundred years later, were also placed in the museum (jewellery, weapons, pottery). The outset of the large-scale investments at the end of the 1900s and the beginning of the 21st century, and the related test excavations, also brought significant results. In the course of the excavations carried out along the 17 km long stretch of the 2A motorway for example, our collection was enriched with finds of a period embracing thousands of years from the Neolithic to the late Middle Ages. The ’High Street-Main Square’ project took place between 2003 and 2012, during which excavations carried out in the area of the Castle of Vác and the inner town, added an exceptional assemblage of artefacts to our collection.

The time limit of assembling artefacts in an archaeological collection ranges from the prehistoric period to early modern times. In the past 10 years emergency operations were predominant, the number of rescue excavations decreased, and test excavations have taken place only occasionally. Consequently there was practically no time for the planning of field work or the systematic development of the collection.

The number of units in the archaeological inventory in 1956 was 735. The archaeological collection of the Tragor Ignác Museum at present consists of 81,136 pieces.

A part of the historical collection belongs to the corpus of the museum. Ignác Tragor financed his systematic purchases with government subsidies. This is how the precious clock collection of the 18th-19th century landed in the museum. The fact that this collection was the centre of social attention ever since the establishment of the Association is proved by donations. Supporters of the museum included religious leaders, citizens of Vác, and different local organisations. Following the elimination of trade guilds, local industry unions offered the museum their memorabilia left from the trade guild period. Tragor had a keen eye for contemporary documents, so it is thanks to him that the rich assemblage of World War I posters and the subsequent period of world crisis became part of the museum.

At the request of Tragor and with the advocacy of Elemér Preszly in 1924 the collection of the Archaeological and Ethnographical Committee of Pest County was handed over to the Museum of Vác. As the borderline between collection units was not definite, it is possible that a large amount of historical material also ended up in our collection.

Although the concept of collecting was in accordance with the expectations of politics, according to the half term report of 1956 only three object were collected. The individual historical collection of the museum dates back to 1968, the period of taking stock of different collections separately. In the 1970s Vilma Alföldy, besides taking stock of the corpus material, also carried out systematic collecting work. Pieces of attire, furniture, photographs and documents of the labour movement theme came to the foreground. Zsuzsa Korkes, in the eighties, was a collector mainly of handcrafted, small-scale industry assemblage of objects, equipment of workshops for example. Collection of contemporary material became the popular way. The collection is growing mostly as a result of donations and collecting, but we strive to make use of tenders too. Katalin Forró has been in charge of the collection since 1st March 1988, a period when its size nearly doubled.

The historical collection contains 7,701 listed objects and 25,390 documents.

Most important groups of works of art:

  • Guild trade collection (guild chests, seals) guild and craft-union documents
  • Documents about and objects of handicraft, small-scale industries, local factories
  • Glass, pottery, china objects, household equipment
  • Tokens (increased in number with recent tokens from Vác financed by tenders)
  • Weapons
  • Machines (radio, TV, typewriters, calculators, telephone, cameras…)
  • Old clocks of Vác (until the 18-19th century)
  • Attire and textile collection
  • Old prints (particularly precious 18th and 19th century books from the local Ambró and Gottlieb print works)
  • Election documents  (material from the 19th and 20th century)
  • Products of the printing press in Vác like posters, flyers, invitation cards, business cards…
  • Original photography
  • Postcards

The break-in that happened in the warehouse outside the museum in 2000 caused an irreplaceable loss to the historical collection. A significant part of the weapon, pipe, and pottery collection, together with silverware, went missing.

The youngest of all the collection units of the museum  – like the discipline itself – is the etnographic collection. The archaeological, the historical and the fine arts collections were established in the 19th century, while it was only in the 20th century that they started to collect etnographical objects. In 1914 there were only 50 pieces of objects classified as etnographical kept in the museum. In the course of the following years the growth of the collection was more and more systematic owing to purchases made from government aid. It was Ignac Tragor who carried out the systematic purchases from government subsidies of objects mainly in the topic of shepherding. These objects (sticks, shepherd’s axes, cowbells) constitute an irreplacable part of the collection today. Unfortunately the original documentation belonging to the objects has been lost.

Due to the destruction in Wold War II the etnographic collection already consisting of hundreds of pieces was almost entirely distroyed. Collection work restarted in the 1950s and was extended to the 46 settlements of the Gödöllő and Szob districts. The gradual extinction of the peasant lifestyle and the transformation of the villages would have provided a perfect opportunity for collecting artefacts, but the institution missed to take the chance due to a lack of professionals. The individual etnographical collection of the museum is dated from 1986, but due to the small number of professionl workers, the activity of collecting artefacts was carried out ad hoc. In the 1970s complete sets of attire were collected by Philipp Clarisse. It was not before 1974 that Mária Igaz, the first professional etnographic museologist, was employed by the museum. Thanks to the collecting activities of Emil Ráduly the number of objects of etnographic interest was doubled between 1978 and ’84. An exceptionally great number of farming, small-scale industries and handicraft memorabilia was added to the collection in that period. Because of the limited financial means of museums, the financial upgrade and the swift consumption of traditional folk culture materials, the attention of museums was directed towards the material remains of the present day. At the moment the only etnographist employed by the museum is Anita Csukovits museologist. The assemblage of artefacts recovered in 1994 during the course of the excavation of the Domenican crypt in Vác, was also placed in the etnographic collection.

The etnographic collection at present contains 7000 objects and 550 documents (archive photographs, manuscripts, old prints). The biggest unit within the assemblage is the collection of traditional attire and household textiles consisting of over 1000 pieces. We have complete sets of traditional attire from Csővár, Püspökszilágy, Vácbottyán, Letkés, Nagybörzsöny, Fót. The museum has an exceptionally rich collection of handwoven materials. The second biggest unit is the nearly 800 piece domestic and small-scale industry tool kit. The farming collection consists of 350 pieces and the museum’s folk ceramics, furniture and household equipment collection is also of a similar size. The world of traditional beliefs and folk traditions is represented by 100 pieces. The break-in into the warehouse outside the museum in 2000, affected mainly the religious etnographic collection as icons, sculptures, crucifixes went missing or got into the possession of unauthorised hands. The nearly 1800 deservedly famous finds from the 18th century Domenican crypt  constitute an individual unit, housed in the museum since the excavations of 1994-95.

The fine arts collection of the Museum Association of Vác – at the end of the 19th century – was created with the help of donations from rich citizens and religious leaders, and it was Ignác Tragor who insisted on collecting works of fine art in the 1920s and ’30s by inviting young artists to Vác. In 1926 Laszlo Kemeny, an assistant of Istvan Csok, organized a colony of painters in our town. The exhibition, marking the end of the colony, was received with considerable incomprehension, while in the Ernst Museum in Budapest the same exhibition – with the works of Dezso Korniss, Sandor Trauner, Gyorgy Kepes, Ernő Schubert etc. – was a huge success.

Consequently there were no attempts to organize such a colony until the beginning of the ’70s. The museum’s collection was extended mainly with creations from exhibitions of art teachers (Laszlo Somodi, Karoly Peukert, Istvan Mikes, etc.). From the beginning of the ’70s, contemporary art was equal to such members of the Danube Workshop as Kornel Daniel, Istvan Nagy B., Andras Orvos, Andras Cs. Nagy, and until the mid-’80s everyone seemed to be buying pictures from them from county and town money. Later on this opportunity for shopping ceased to exist.

The formation of the figurative-hyperrealistic collection started in the mid ’80s. The whole collection was built upon pictures we had already possessed. The only set of pictures in store with standards high enough to start a collection from, consisted of the pop-culture, figurative, hyperrealistic artwork of Andras Orvos, Andras Miklos Saros, Ildiko Bakos, and Laszlo Jozsef Molnar. With ministry and lectorate support, together with the tenders, we managed to launch a contemporary collection.

Our fine arts collection contains 1296 works of art.

The most important units in our fine arts corpus:

  • Panoramic paintings of Vác from the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century
  • Portraits of celebrities of Vác

Works of art by artists working in or originating from Vác from the 19th century until 1945

  • Because of his scattered paintings the artistic activity of Török Ede is very difficult to reconstruct as we can rely only on pictures recovered from private collectors.
  • The pictures by Dietrich Adolf were finally framed in 1997 and then put on show. A new exhibition of his artworks is also in store together with the publication of a small biographical catalogue about the artist.

Works of art by artists working in, or originating from Vác from 1945 to the ’60s

  • Gusztáv Végh, Géza Bornemissza, Károly Peukert, József Mikes, László Lipovniczky, etc. The works of László Lipovniczky were already exhibited in 1989, and those of  Károly Peukert and Kornél Dániel were put on show in 2003.

The Danube Workshop

  • Collection of paintings of artists living in Vác started in the ’70s in a random fashion landing one or two works of András Cs. Nagy, András Orvos, István Nagy B., Erzsébet Markó, Valéria Hidvégi, Ildikó Bakos, Milós Szüts, András Miklós Sáros, János Blaskó, etc. in the museum together with works of art by some non-local artists.

The figurative - hyperrealistic material of the past decade

  • In 1989 in the course of an exhibition called Imitation Resurrected we offered a brief survey of figurative tendencies (surreal naturalism, hyperrealism and other naturalistic efforts) based on which the future development of the collection was delineated
  • At first we started to collect pieces showing traces of surreal naturalism, radical realism, and figurative trends of pop art (Gyula Konkoly, Imre Kocsis, András Orvos, László Méhes), followed by figurative art created towards the end of the ’70s and the beginning of the ’80s (Károly Kelemen, Márton Barabás, Gábor Zrínyifalvy, László Fehér, István Nyári, Sándor Bernáth/y, György Marosvári) Another group of pictures depict artists or performance documents (Sándor Bernáth/y, Péter Sarkadi, László Varkoly, István Vilmos Balogh, Péter Gémes, Sándor Filep, Károly Kelemen). Works of art created at the turn of the ’90s deal with quotations, imitation, patterns and the aesthetics of secondary originality (Frigyes Königh, János Szirtes, Róbert Várady, etc.).

The Gyula Hincz bequest

Gyula Hincz (1904-1986), the renowned painter, graphic artist and book illustrator donated 107 of his original works to the city of Vác in 1980, in exchange for a permanent exhibition space dedicated to his work. The collection was administered by the Directorate of Pest County Museums and got exhibited – along with 147 more works of the artist – at a freshly renovated building at the Lőwy Sándor (today: Káptalan) Street in 1983. After the death of Hincz in 1986 the collection further expanded, thanks to which today it consists of about 1700 artworks (paintings, graphics, sketches for book illustration and mural works, stage designs as well as statuettes). The collection was administered and managed by the Vak Bottyán / Tragor Ignác Museum until 2009, then between 2009 and 2013 by the Váci Értéktár. In 2013 a permanent exhibition selecting from the collection has opened at the Pannonia House and 2016 the whole bequest became part of the Fine Art Collection of the museum.

After the merging with the Pannonia House in October 2016, the Museum was enlarged with an applied art collection divided in two main sections: a ceramics and a cast iron collection.

The István Gádor Bequest

The ceramist István Gádor (1891-1984) was aiming for a permanent exhibition showcasing his works already in his life, but the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest refused his offer at the time. Eventually in 1972 the Janus Pannonius Museum in Pécs acquired 400 pieces from the artist that became the core of the Gádor Museum at the Siklós Castle. After the death of Gádor in 1984 the City Council of Vác received his bequest and allocated it to the Vak Bottyán / Tragor Ignác Museum. In 2009 the over 1200-piece ceramics collection was taken over by the Váci Értéktár at the Pannonia House where István Gádor Oeuvre Exhibition has opened in 2013.

Berczelly Collection

The cast iron collection of the museum is based on the private collection of Attila Berczelly that consist of castings of German, Czech, Austrian, Russian and Hungarian origin. Berczelly had been collecting since the early 1990s. The decorative and household objects were on display at his home, and later on in Zebegény and Kehidakustány. The collection that consists of more than 400 cultural objects, was acquired by the city of Vác from the collector in 2007. The permanent exhibition selecting from these works, entitled “History Cast in Iron – Cast Ironwork in Central-Europe” has opened in 2012.

Other collections of the museum

A collection of original photographs is a new unit created on the basis of NCHM decree 20/2002. It is constantly extended. The collection of photographic documents should start with the acquisition of originals, if possible or reproductions, if necessary. The photo and film inventory of the Documentation Department of the museum contains 50,015 negatives, 10,112 slides, and nearly 100,000 digital recordings richly documenting the history of the town.

Our library collects specialized literature of the four relevant disciplines and Museology in addition to books and journals about local, regional history. This is not a public library, but researchers may be granted access following notification in advance.


A Tragor Ignác Múzeum honlapja • Grafikai tervezés: Arcus Stúdió • Webfejlesztés: DunaWeb Kft.
A weblap Várady Róbert: Cyber térben (2008) című festménye felhasználásával készült.