Here you can find useful information about some of the most interesting museums in Bucharest.
Village Museum (Muzeul Satului)
Founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania's rural architecture.
Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting. Throughout the year, the Village Museum hosts special events where you will have a chance to witness folk artisans demonstrating traditional skills in weaving, pottery and other crafts. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop.
National Art Museum (Muzeul National de Arta)
Romania's leading art museum was founded in 1948 to house the former Royal Collection, which included Romanian and European art dating from the 15th to the 20th century. Located in the neoclassical former Royal Palace, set amid a wealth of historic buildings such as the Romanian Athenaeum, Kretzulescu Church and the Hotel Athenee Palace-Hilton, the museum currently exhibits over 100,000 works divided into two major sections.
Its National Gallery features the works of major Romanian artists, including Grigorescu, Aman and Andreescu. There is also a roomful of early Brancusi sculpture, such as you won't find anywhere else, demonstrating how he left his master, Rodin, behind in a more advanced form of expression. The European Gallery, comprising some 15 rooms, displays little-known art gems from the likes of El Greco, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Breughels (father and son) Cezanne and Rubens. If you only have time to visit one gallery, make it the Romanian one. It is the most complete collection of Romanian works of art in the country and quite possibly, the world.
National History Museum (Muzeul National de Istorie al Romaniei)
Housed in a 1900s neoclassical building that once served as the city's main post office, the museum offers a great introduction to the exciting history of Romania. Spread throughout 41 rooms, the exhibits recount the country's development from prehistoric times to the 20th century. The highlight is the National Treasury Hallwhere visitors can enjoy a dazzling display of some 3,000 gold items, including jewelry and valuable Neolithic artifacts.
Among the displays are the 12 pieces of the 4th century Pietroasele Treasure Collection. First presented at the 1867 World's Fair in Paris, it was considered the most valuable treasure collection in the world (the tomb of Tutankamon had not yet been discovered). One year later, the collection was displayed at the Second Annual International Exhibition in London and in 1872, at the International Exhibition in Vienna.
Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Taranului Roman)
Opened in 1906, the museum features the richest folk art collection in Romania, with over 90,000 artifacts that trace the colorful and diverse cultural life of the Romanian people. The Pottery Collection includes some 18,000 items, representative of the most important pottery centres in the country. The oldest ceramic item found in the museum bears the inscription 1746. Equally impressive, the Costume Collection comprises almost 20,000 traditional folk costumes, some dating from the beginning of the 19th century, giving visitors insight into the styles and traditions of the Romanian peasants.
The displays dip into all aspects of life in the Romanian countryside. Exhibits of agricultural tools, carpets, icons, furniture, photographs and films build up a complete picture of Romanian folk culture. In one of the galleries, you can see a wooden church and in another, a wooden peasant house. Four more wooden churches stand in the outdoor museum area. In 1996, the museum was named European Museum of the Year. Visitors can buy regional handcrafts and textiles in the museum's extensive gift shop.
National Geological Museum (Muzeul National de Geologie)
Founded in 1990 under the patronage of the Geological Institute of Romania, the National Museum of Geology of Bucharest welcomes visitors with eye-catching collections of minerals. These collections aside, the museum also features sections dedicated to sundry geological branches, such as paleontology, hydro-geology, internal and external earth dynamics and so on. There’s a clear emphasis laid on the geology of Romania.Impressive collections of minerals and quartz formations specific to the area are found here, including a well-presented geological structure of Romania.The museum hosts a collection of 80,000 samples of rocks, fossils, and minerals from Romania.
The institute also runs a radiometry laboratory. On top of that, the didactic side of the institute and of the museum materializes in the sundry activities and events the institution is involved in.
The building was built in 1906 for the Geological Institute of Romania. It was designed by architect Victor Stefanescu, in the Neo-Romanian Romantic and Neo-Brancovenesc styles.