Museum of Slavonia was founded on February 17, 1877 as the Museum of the Free and Royal City of Osijek, based on the donation of Franjo Sedlaković’s numismatic collection. In the first decades, the Museum fund was almost exclusively built thanks to donations.
Along with Sedlaković, other distinguished members of Osijek society are considered to be the founders of the Museum. City fathers and curators collected valuable items and art, most notably, Karlo Franjo Nuber, wholesale merchant and collector, the most important donator from 1893 to 1910, and Vjekoslav Celestin, who was the curator and head of the Museum for many years. The three of them are regarded as the founders of Museum of Slavonia.
From the time it was established in 1877 to 1933, the Museum constantly changed locations. The City authorities decided to temporarily place Sedlaković’s collection at the Magistracy in 1877 (currently the main building of the Museum of Slavonia, Trg Sv. Trojstva 6 / St Trinity Square) until “a location is arranged at the new High School“ (present-day Business School, Trg Sv. Trojstva).
From 1893, professor Vjekoslav Celestin became the Museum curator and the Museum relocated to the Royal High School (today, this is Mathematical High School). This is when the numismatic collection was officially handed over to the Museum.
The Museum moved again in 1895 and occupied six rooms in the Upper Town Public School (modern-day Faculty of Social Sciences at L. Jäger Street). After the First World War, it changed location again, this time to the Citadel, in Grškovićeva Street (today, this is the small building of the Business School).
After that, the Museum found its place at the Franciscan Monastery in the Citadel. The material was put in a damp room and severely damaged (presently, this is the House of Technology on Križanić Square).
In 1925, the collections were divided and spread across two locations – the numismatic one was put in Kuhačeva Street (now, this is the Conservation department), while the archeological collection was situated at a primary school in the New Town (presently, this is Primary School F. K. Frankopan).
This did not last very long and soon, the archeology department moved to the old Girls’ School in 1931 (today, this is the smaller building of the Business School).
Only in 1933 did Vjekoslav Celestin manage to acquire ten exhibition halls at Mažuranićev vijenac (today, this is the building at the corner of the European Avenue and Mažuranićeva Street). This is where the first permanent exhibition of the Museum was located.
The first guide through the permanent exhibition, Guide through the Museum Collections was published in 1940 by Franjo Buntak, curator. The professional publication of the Museum – Osijek Journal (Osječki zbornik) – started in 1942 during Josip Bösendorfer’s tenure.
Since 1946, Museum has been situated at the Magistracy (Trg Sv. Trojstva 6), where Franjo Sedlaković’s numismatic collection was initially kept and officially dubbed the Museum of Slavonia in 1947.
Since its founding days all the way to present day, the Museum has been a cultural beacon for Osijek, a home for many experts, artists and scientists, known not only in Osijek, but also among the scientific public in general.
During the Homeland War (1991-1995), the building was badly damaged. The permanent exhibition was evacuated, as well as other relevant sections.
The Museum has enjoyed national museum status since 1994 and it is a public institution which provides a public service. In April 2012, the Croatian Government decided to join the Archeological Museum in Osijek to the Museum of Slavonia (Main Guard, Trg Sv. Trojstva 2), extending the exhibition space to both building at St Trinity Square.
The Museum also has a library with a reading room – the largest one of its kind in Croatia.
Today, the Museum of Slavonia is one of the oldest museums in Croatia and the largest complex museum in the country.
Founder: Republic of Croatia
Status: national museum (since 1994)
Type of institution: complex museum (general museum)
Established in: 1877
Number of employees: 32
Director: Denis Detling, Senior Museum Educator
Tel +385 (0)31 250 730