Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
The Millenary Exhibition
Our new exhibition focuses on the millennial events, programmes and works of art that received public funding in Hungary. This is the only exhibition so far that has tried to give an overall picture of the kinds of official programmes and centrally sponsored works that were created on the occasion of the millennium. To collect this material, we turned for help to the state institutions that organised, subsidised and documented these events, including the Millennium Commissary Office, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Religious Editorial staff of the Hungarian Television, Duna Television, the Hungarian Radio, the Hungarian Post Office, the Coin Trade Joint Stock Company of the Hungarian National Bank, the Office for the Protection of Historic Monuments (previously the Committee for the Protection of Historic Monuments) and the Millennial Non-profit Company. The selection of material on display in the exhibition largely reflects the value judgements of the above-mentioned institutions: we show the events and programmes that they consider most important. In the same way, if institutions chose not to provide us with information or material on certain events or programmes, then these do not figure in the exhibition. We do not comment on the material that is on display: the exhibits speak for themselves.
The exhibition is partly a multimedia display: fifty monitors show feature films made with millenary aid, documentaries, and films of the transportation of the Hungarian Royal Crown to Parliament and to Esztergom, and of the commemorative events organised by different denominations. Official home pages and documents, as well as millennium events, can also be followed on computer screens.
Posters, museum catalogues and calendars offer a taste of various exhibitions, while large-scale photographs show the sponsored statues erected in public places. The millennial statuary and memorial parks of four counties are displayed on panels, and the travelling exhibition organised by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage - a synthesis of reconstructed historical monuments - acts as an "exhibition within the exhibition". In the reading corner, visitors can examine subsidised books and other publications, such as the Millennium Tourist Guidebook series or the Magyar Nemzet series; commemorative stamps and coins are also on show, together with other official documents. The millennial flag of Döbörhegy can also be examined, together with the expert consultant's advice on the ceremony at which the flag was dedicated.
Exhibits are arranged in thematic groups: the Holy Crown, St. Stephen, Christianity - the Christian Church, Hungary - Greater Hungary - Trianon - the Carpathian Basin, folk art - preserving traditions. The millennium was the anniversary not only of the foundation of the Hungarian State but also of the adoption of Christianity, so commemorations and millennial programmes co-organised by Church and State, or Church events subsidised by the state, play an important role in the exhibition.
The collection of official documents and declarations serves to reconstruct the authorities' intentions with regard to the Millennium, and we hope that the material displayed in the exhibition will help to establish the extent to which those intentions were actually fulfilled.
"It was thanks to St. Stephen's prophetic personality, his sense of mission and his faith in divine providence, as well as his iron will, that the Hungarian state and the Hungarian nation became fit for the historic role they were to play for a thousand years."
1st law of 2000