Permanent exhibition at György Thúry Museum of Nagykanizsa
Open to the public: during the opening hours
The first section of the new permanent exhibition – which opened on 9 February 2006 – shows the history of the region between the western basin of Little Balaton and the Mura River from the beginning of the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. In the second, larger, section the development of Nagykanizsa, the town playing a leading role in the region, in the 18th century and the golden age of the period of the Dual Austro-Hungarian Monarchy are displayed.
People, Roads and Relations (The Millennia of Southern Zala)
In the first room of the exhibition, visitors are taken about in the Neolithic era; finds, which came to light during the excavations prior to the motorway construction, are introduced to the visitors. Beautiful and interesting pieces of pottery and stone working are presented in the glass cabinets. We should stress the importance of Neolithic idols and God statuettes. The exhibition shows the, in Transdanubia uniquely rich, material of finds of this special and interesting group of objects in the light of the latest excavations. In particular, the finds of the Starčevo, Transdanubian Linear Pottery, Sopot and Lengyel cultures can be seen in this room.
In the second room, visitors can get acquainted with the Millennia of Southern Zala from the Copper Age to the end of the Roman period. Following the typical objects from the Copper Age, the model of a cart from Börzönce – originating from the Early Bronze Age – can also be seen. Besides the settlements and finds from the Late Bronze Age and the time of the Celts, the organisers present a villa rustica of the 3rd or 4th century from Nagykanizsa by means of a maquette and through the outstanding finds which came to light. The most beautiful pieces, drinking-glasses and necklaces decorated with gold pearls from the rich cemetery of the 4th century, which was unearthed in the above place, can also be taken a look at.
The next section of the exhibition shows the history of mediaeval Kanizsa, the castle and its building periods. The layout of the village Csatár from the 11th–12th centuries situated in a marchland – which place was unearthed next to Letenye – as well as finds relating to blacksmithing and the craft of armourers in the village, further pots for cooking and storing found in the same place are exhibited in the first glass cabinet. In the next part of the room, the development of Kanizsa in the 13th century and the process how it became a manorial centre and market town are presented through charters. Then, visitors can get acquainted with the castle of Kanizsa and its history in detail, from the beginning of the 14th century to the end of the Ottoman rule. In this part of the exhibition, the castles of Bajcsa and Botszentgyörgy, which played an important role in the fights against the Ottomans, are also presented. The interactive maquette of the castle, placed in the middle of the room, gives a clear idea of the various building periods of the castle of Kanizsa. At the push of a button, the ground plans of the castle from four different periods are flashing on and off.
In the second major part of the exhibition, visitors can get acquainted with the development which came about after the demolition of the castle in 1702, the rebirth of the town which lies at the meeting-point of five roads of national significance, the occurrence of the new town centre, the administration of the market town with a letters patent, the activities of its landowners (Szapáry, Batthyány families), the role of the Franciscan Order, which established itself in the town again, and the relations of the guilds and guildsmen are presented.
The presentation of the role of commercial routes and post roads, the significance of the post house of Kanizsa, the importance of the trade of reloading and forwarding, owing to which the town became one of the most important places in Transdanubia at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as the effects of the railway lines, opened one after the other in the middle of the 19th century, on the revival of the economy is of high priority.
The renowned national and weekly markets are revived through a market scene (exterior) showing a grain carrying cart and various stall-keepers. In addition to the presentation of wholesalers from Kanizsa, the organisers of the exhibition also evoke the atmosphere of department stores and shops from the beginning of the 20th century through the shop windows of the department store of Adolf Rosenfeld’s Sons, where spices, delicatessen food, chinaware, glassware, fancy goods and pieces of fine workmanship were sold, the shop of the bookseller, stationer and publisher Fülöp Fischel’s Son and the women’s fashion atelier of Fanny Martinek.
Visitors can get acquainted with the activities of the Savings Bank of Nagykanizsa, which was the first to be founded in the county in 1845, and of those 10 banks which were operated in the town around the turn of the century, the products of factories which were set up one after another from the 1890s onwards as well as their markets and export destinations which covered Europe and almost the whole world.
The schools of Nagykanizsa, which had a significant intellectual presence, and newspaper and book publishing – all of them gaining a leading role in the cultural life of the county – are put particular stress on at the exhibition. Lively social and cultural life in town and the activities of its societies and associations are presented full of atmosphere through the interior equipped with the original pieces of furniture of the “Casino”, one of the oldest societies.
By means of a computer, visitors can “take a virtual walk at the turn of the century” in the section of the exhibition presenting the changing townscape and the constructions. By selecting points or names of buildings on the map, they can evoke the townscape and the buildings of the first few years of the century and read about their history and well-known tenants.
The homes and living conditions of Kanizsa’s middle class are presented through the interior design of a parlour, a dining room and the husband’s study full of atmosphere.
The Empire style pieces of furniture of the Black Eagle Pharmacy have been placed in a separate room. Visitors can now admire them after their complete restoration.
In the playroom, which is associated with the exhibition, visitors can “go shopping” in an “online department store of the turn of the century” by means of another computer. They can choose among groups of goods from a catalogue of several hundred pages, decorated with drawings, and will receive a decorated invoice of the articles they add “to basket”.
The organisers of the exhibition are as follows (in chronological order of the show): Ms. Eszter Kreiter, Ms. Zita Mária Tokai, Ms. Dr. Katalin T. Bíró, Mr. Dr. László Horváth, Mr. Dr. László Vándor, and Ms. Zsuzsanna Kunics.