Permanent Exhibition

The permanent exhibition, covering a space of approximately 500m², gives an overview of the almost 900 years of Transylvanian-Saxon history and their traditional territory surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. Each room has its own theme. The rooms, which cover specific themes or aspects of life, are all arranged around a central room that concentrates on the territory and the people in general. This central room also serves as an introduction to the whole topic. The presentation concept dates back to 1996 but the individual theme rooms have been redesigned over the years or adjusted to the changing requirements of social acceptance or understanding.

An important room that deals with the traditional rules of life of the Transylvanian Saxons was finished in 2006. One central aspect there is the neighbourhood system. As a proto-democratic institution, the neighbourhood was a social system providing mutual assistance and ensuring public order in the Transylvanian villages; brotherhoods and sisterhoods, their rites and importance for the Transylvanian-Saxon community are also explained in this room.

The adjacent room presents the traditional Transylvanian corporate order – in the form of a pyramid from the peasants to the Prince. On the other side, an installation representing a historical market place shows the inter-ethnical economical and cultural network of relationships. A media station explains the different traditional costumes found in the region and their significance for life and society.

The rooms demonstrating rural and urban life highlight aspects of the art of living and the representation of culture in urban and rural environments.

The room that is described “Living by the Rules of the Church/Ecclesiastical Art” shows ecclesiastical art from the Late Middle Ages to the 19th century. A media station provides information about the typical Transylvanian fortified churches. This room also reviews the role of the church in everyday life.

The next room under the theme “Childhood and School” was only redesigned in 2006 and reflects the role of the school for the Transylvanian-Saxon identity and the role of children in Transylvanian society. It also provides insights into the Transylvanian-Saxon school system initiated by reformer Johannes Honterus as early as in the middle of the 16th century, and highlights the exemplary institution of the student council – called Coetus – based on humanistic ideals.

The area under the motto of “Home country and new home” reflects on the concept of “home” and the Transylvanian-Saxon migration history after 1945.

The museum’s upper floor is reserved for the decorative art collection (silver and goldsmithing work, pewter, pottery and glass). In another room the museum presents textile art. The graphics cabinet shows a selection of graphic reproductions from the museum’s comprehensive collection. Only parts of the museum’s collection of important paintings can be exhibited in the permanent exhibition. It is mainly presented in special exhibitions.