Since the nineties of the 20th century ”Staro selo” Museum began collaborating with the artisan presenters of traditional crafts, skills and knowledge, which is intensified since 1996, when the first contract with the artisans, as associates of the museum, was signed. Permanent museum sets that represents the lifestyle and housing of the Zagorje population at the turn of the 19 – 20 century, have been complemented with live painting, artisans that represent and demonstrate traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, pottery and weaving.
In subsequent years, the interest of visitors for displaying traditional crafts at the Museum ”Staro selo” Kumrovec has been increasingly growing. Visitors not only wanted to see the crafts, but also try their hand at making certain subjects, such as the formation of vessels on potter’s foot wheel, making a horseshoe for good luck or decorating gingerbread hearts.
Led by the new interests of visitors of different structures and ages, which includes education and creating their own souvenirs in MHZ – Museum ”Staro selo” Kumrovec, in 2007, the Centre for traditional crafts, skills and knowledge was founded.
The work plan of the Centre included field visits, registering existing traditional crafts, knowledge, skills and practices, and good cooperation, both with artisans of traditional crafts and with holders of knowledge, and skills and customs connoisseurs. Based on fieldwork, Center was able, in cooperation with external partners, to make a database of traditional crafts, skills, knowledge and practices in the area of Krapina-Zagorje County.
From the so-conceived plan of the Centre, logical sequence was to specify the role and task of the Centre for traditional crafts and skills, i.e the development plan, which includes:
1. Fieldwork – continual state testing of conservation of traditional heritage – information about artisans of traditional crafts and connoisseurs of traditional knowledge and skills, in the County area. Field research involves collecting of digital and photographic documentation.
2. INDOK Centre – development of a database that provides current status display and the entry of emerging changes, caused by socio-economic impacts. Such comprehensive database could be useful to experts, in the field of heritage and tourism, for various analyzes, development of cartographic representations, making proposition preservations and protection of a segment of intangible heritage, but also as a basis for further research, focused on a selected topic (for example: making combs from cow horn, leather processing).
3. Communication role – working on a presentation and popularization of traditional crafts and skills which includes the organization of the workshops of intangible heritage, setting up themed museum exhibitions, participation in appropriate fairs, cooperation with educational institutions, travel agencies and tour operators. In the Museum ”Staro selo” Kumrovec, in the organization by the Centre for traditional crafts, skills and knowledge, since its inception in 2007 to year 2013, workshops of intangible heritage were implemented. Within them, artisans and connoisseurs of traditional crafts sought to impart knowledge to the younger generation: Blacksmith’s workshops, Making traditional jewelry of crepe paper, straw and textiles, Traditional carpentry workshops, Roofing workshops (that is organized by the Prime Roofing company) – covering roofs with rye straw, Pottery workshops (from shaping clay pots on potter’s foot wheel to finished products), Making and decorating of gingerbread, Preparation of traditional dishes from Zagorje – strukli, Preparation and organization of comb workshops, ie. making combs, jewelry, and other utilitarian objects out of horn tissue (cow horn).
By organizing workshops of intangible heritage, lasting at least five days, participants receive basic knowledge they can further improve on their own, in their own premises or within school hours, and receive a certificate that will be useful in hiring or opening their own business. By organizing these workshops, good cooperation has been established between the Centre for traditional crafts and skills of the Mueseum ”Staro selo” Kumrovec and individuals – workshop participants, as well as with primary and secondary educational institutions in the Krapina-Zagorje County.
Good cooperation between the Centre for traditional crafts and skills and artisan presenters and experts of traditional crafts and skills, has created the conditions for new projects, and also new contents of the Museum, such as the realization of the exhibition: Masters of the workshop, Comb workshop.
Professional work of ethnologists, employees of the Centre for traditional crafts, skills and knowledge, in collaboration with other colleagues in the field of heritage, has also been used by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, in two reported cases of phenomena of intangible heritage, for inclusion on the National and UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the world: making traditional wooden toys of Croatian Zagorje and gingerbread of NW Croatia.
It should be noted that the Centre for traditional crafts and skills in the Museum ”Staro selo” Kumrovec, was the first such centre in the Republic of Croatian who began systematically collecti data of intangible heritage, educate the young generation and all interested, with a view of preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
Opening hours of the Centre for traditional crafts, skills and knowledge:
Monday to Friday from 10.00 AM – 12.00 AM
Phone: +385 (0)49 225 844
Tihana Kusenic, B. Sc. ethnologist, curator-documentarian