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Long Night of Museums 2015

Time to make plans for the Long Night of Museums January 30th, fun event that takes place last Friday in January all over Croatia. Zagreb, supposedly being the city with most museums per square meter, is obviously a great place to be on that particular evening.

The event is incredibly successful, and has been since the first time it was organized. Precisely 10 years ago. In fact, back then, it was a pilot project and less than 10 museums were included, but they still managed to attract as much as 10.000 visitors! No wonder we’re speaking hundreds of thousands now that more than 350 museums across the country are involved.

It’s hard to explain why it is so popular. The museums here in Zagreb are patiently waiting for the visitors, yet they often remain completely empty. The museum tickets are mostly inexpensive. It’s not the price, I’m a tour guide and I can visit most of those places anytime completely free of charge, yet I love this event as well. In fact, I usually make crazy plans on how to cover most museums in just 5 hours (that’s how long the event lasts, 18:00-01:00). There’s just something memorable about it.

What I really don’t get is why do people stand in lines to see all the major museums. Ok, sometimes it’s because of a temporary exhibition with a high ticket price, or there’s a really awesome side-event. But some museums are visited by thousands of people in that single evening, now that’s a bit too much for my taste.

Museum of Broken Relationships is a cool spot everyone wants to see when in Zagreb, and I’ve heard people planning to visit it on this occasion. Well, bad news is, it’s not part of the program. I completely support that decision, if my guesses about the reasons behind it are right. It used to participate, and there used to be an incredibly long and windy line in front of it. But hey, it’s a rare example of a privately held museum, and that includes longer working hours compared to other museums. It’s the only museum in Zagreb you can visit every single day until 9 PM. Can’t you come and check it out tomorrow? By paying 25 HRK (less than 3,5 EUR) for the ticket, you also support creative entrepreneurship. The same goes for the

Automotive Museum -it keeps breaking records on this occasion, and for a reason… they host all sorts of fun events… but come back again and pay for the ticket if you can afford it. Think of it as crowdfunding or a way to say thanks to the enthusiastic crew behind it πŸ™‚

Museum of Broken Relationships broke up with the Long Night of Museums. Why don’t you visit it the evening after?

My favorite thing, when it comes to this event, is visiting places that are normally open for visitors just a few hours a week, or don’t even have regular visiting hours. My kids come along, of course. It can be a bit overwhelming for kids, but they love every excuse to stay up and out late, so I suppose it can’t hurt if that excuse comes in the shape of a cultural event.

Some museums offer a special program according to this year’s topic – Inventions and Discoveries – Nikola Tesla, Universal Mind Many museums prepared unique and interactive Tesla-inspired programme, Technical Museum probably being the most attractive one. In fact, you should make a reservation way in advance if you want to enjoy their programme.  

Organizers and sponsors even prepared a short educational video for mobile devices about the genius, available on AppStore and GooglePlay (http://bit.do/trent).

Now back to my plans πŸ™‚ This should be my route Friday evening:

Psychiatric Hospital Museum

This is where I’m starting this year’s museum-tour. This one is a bit out of the way, placed in a beautiful 1800’s mental institution. It’s worth visiting – as soon as you find out how many famous Zagrebers spent some of their days here, you’re going to love this crazy city even more:)

Did I mention Nikola Tesla was the main theme of this year’s event? Unfortunately for this institution, he didn’t spend any time here, but the psychiatric museum staff decided to honor him anyway. By exhibiting how his inventions influenced psychiatry (read: usage of electricity in psychiatric practice). It’s a bit hard to promote this exhibit without sounding a tiny bit wicked, so let’s just say I’m really looking forward to it. To the exhibit, not the treatments.

Zagreb’s Brewery Museum

A taste of beer history – sounds like fun, and it sure is. This museum is still collecting exhibits, so there aren’t many opportunities to visit this fun venue yet. The brewery itself goes back to 1892, so this is also a chance to see some of this city’s immense industrial heritage.

Academy of Fine Arts and Museum Documentation Center

If you’re walking through Ilica Street, remember to enter these two places and enjoy what hides there. So many people don’t even know of a garden full of sculptures enjoyed almost merely by new generations of artists that go to school there.

The door of the Museum Documentation Center is usually not widely-open for public, but they’re making up for that now by giving away their editions for free!

Toso Dabac Archive

Toso Dabac was Croatia’s Robert Doisneau, an amazing photographer who artistically captured so many Zagreb’s moments. And here, in what used to be his studio, you get a chance to capture traces of his spirit.

Mushroom Museum

Is there anything this city doesn’t have a museum of? This is an educational center that exhibits dozens of mushrooms, and they all look as if they were picked only recently thanks to a special technique of freeze-drying.

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

There are three institutions, all placed in historical venues, under the jurisdiction of Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – it’s the Department of Print and Drawings, the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters and the Library. If I’ll have to choose just one, I’m going for the Library, former Chemical Lab. They are putting up an exhibition dedicated to Croatian Nobel laureates in Chemistry.

Modern Gallery and/or Art Pavillion

These are on my way, but I suppose there will be much too crowded. After all, the Art Pavillionis going to allow just 50 people in at once because of the sensitive masterpieces by Joan Miro currently on display there.

The Modern Gallery hosts an exhibition about Nikola Tesla. I would really like to know what is it they’re hiding in their warehouse related to Tesla. By the way, this has become one of my favorite museums lately.

Zagreb City Library

Nothing beats the smell of old books. Ok, maybe some people prefer computers. The City Library decided to make it even, so they invited a well-known museum of old computers Peek&Poke from Rijeka. The guest exhibition opens precisely on January 30th.

National University Library

I’m happy to see the renaissance of Nikola Tesla, finally the time has come when Croatia is actually promoting the fact Tesla was born here. This entire event being dedicated to Nikola Tesla is really promising, and I’m sure that next year the big anniversary (160th birthday) is going to be celebrated loudly and proudly. But, this year, there are two other guys related to science and inventions we ought to celebrate. It’s hard to compare to Tesla, but I hope this small country is going to start to build an image based on all the incredible minds that sprung from here sooner or later.

First comes the good bishop Strossmayer, who was born on February 4th precisely 200 years ago. And then, there’s this awesome book called Machinae Novae. It is considered to go back to the year 1615 .

1615 – that’s 400 years ago, and what an anniversary that is! How often do you get to see a centuries old book of historical importance live? It’s going to be exhibited on the Long Night of Museums. The original one. It was written and illustrated by one of the biggest geeks of the era, Faust Vrancic. The guy not only invented parachute, but he tried it out, and it worked!

This event is also a wonderful chance to check out other great libraries, starting with the former national library. What’s probably the best architectural masterpiece in the city, is now home to the Croatian State Archives exclusively. There are going to be some documents about Tesla from the archives on display.

Museum of Contemporary Art

This is going to be my last stop, just because I live nearby and it’s always fun to exit this evening through a giant slide from the second floor of this building:) And the kids love it. Believe it or not, usually I have to wait for my turn here as well, at least on the Long Night of Museums.

As you can see, I have my route well planned. Hopefully, it will inspire you instead of making me seem completely ready for place number 1. There are so many spots that I haven’t included this time, even though I’d love to. The upper town area alone is just perfect for museum-hopping, and this time, I’m not even going near that area. For example, a new exhibition Foto Tonka opens at Klovicevi Dvori Gallery on January 30th. It’s this year’s most anticipated exhibit, at least by me πŸ™‚  I expect it to be a true time-machine full of vintage decades-old photographs, all created by a local professional female photograph Tonka. She portrayed so many famous people of her era, worked for the National Theater, and even for the royal family.

That’s about it. I know it’s not going to work quite as planed, some places are going to be too crowded. But I’ll let you know how it was πŸ™‚ Make sure to check the programme not to miss any of the events in your neighborhood.

Oh, and no Secret Zagreb tours  on that evening πŸ™‚  

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