founder of The Šariš Museum is Prešov Self - Governing Region
of the Region
There are a few places
in Slovakia that can boast of such richness of historical sights and
movable items of historical value like Bardejov. Among other things,
this is also due to the fact that this territory used to be an
important transit area. Since Ancient Times, influences from the West,
the East, the North and the South have met and intertwined there to an
extent not seen anywhere else in Slovakia. In the course of centuries,
a specific living environment, characterized by multiculturalism,
multiethnicity, and multireligiousness has formed. The area has also
been a contact zone of two big world cultures: the Western, Roman one,
and the Eastern, Byzantine one, which overlap there. Bardejov belongs
to the easternmost places influenced by the Late Gothics (St.
In contrast to that, local Eastern Rite wooden churches are
bearers of the Byzantine culture. It is therefore logical that in the
environment of such a cultural, ethnic and religious diversity a lot
of precious artistic and historical sights have been preserved.
The Šariš Museum in Bardejov
has played an important role in the preservation, protection, and
presentation of these sights. In terms of the size of its collections
and the results of its professional work, it far exceeds the borders
of the region and it is ranked among the most significant institutions
of its kind in Slovakia. It also belongs to the country's oldest
An idea to create a museum appeared as early as in
1897, but the museum itself was opened only a few years later, on
21st December 1903, as the Museum of the Šarišská župa (Šariš
County). Dr A. Vass, Principal of the local grammar school, became its
first Director. The collection of material for the museum
started already in 1903, particularly thanks to K. Divald, V.
Miškovský, A. Vass, and G. Žebrácký. In a short time, almost 3,000
pieces of valuable museum objects were collected. The first,
historic display (focused on the history of Šariš), was opened on
23rd June 1907 in the local Town Hall. The displayed material
had been donated or lent by various, mainly religious institutions and
organizations. It survived the two world wars without major changes.
Re-installations of the display took place in 1954, 1967, and
1991.From its beginnings, Šariš Museum struggled with financial and
personnel problems. The years between 1907 and 1950 saw only minimal
growth of its collections and no research was done. The years between
1914 and 1918 were marked by an effort to move its most significant
exhibits to a museum in Budapest. At the end of the Second World War,
the retreating German Army took interest in the collections as well.
Thanks particularly to G. Žebrácký, the exhibits stayed in their
original place.After 1945, the museum started to specialize in the
national history and geography, focusing on the documentation of the
development of the nature and society in the districts of Bardejov,
Giraltovce, Stropkov and Svidník, from the Stone Age to the present.
Starting from 1950, it concentrated on the documentation of the
Bardejov Town Reserve.
The museum currently documents historical, natural
and social situation in the Upper Šariš Region. It secures nationwide
documentation of Eastern Rite icons. It manages an extensive
collection of more than 700 000 museum items.
For this wide-range activity, the museum gradually
obtained, besides the historical Town Hall, some other buildings as
well: at Radničné námestie (Town Hall Square, building No 13), Rhodyho
ulica (Rhody's Street, houses No 4 - 6 and 27), Rákoczi Villa with
land in Bardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa), and two lent bastions. It
currently manages 34 buildings (besides the objects in its open-air
museum).During its many years of experience, the Šariš
Museum has had deep impact on the development of the Slovak museum
activities and has become an integral part of the cultural life of
Bardejov and the region. The museum, with its precious historical,
national historical, geographical, natural scientific and artistic
exhibits, belongs to those ones in Slovakia that are highly popular
among the domestic as well as foreign visitors. This is also proved by
the number of visits of the museum's displays. Annually they are seen
by about 60,000 domestic and foreign admirers.