Museum of the Revolution (Timisoara)

Timisoara, Romania. The Asociatia Memorialul Revolutiei was founded in 1990, when the 1989 Romanian revolution against the Soviet Communist regime, was still very fresh. When I found the museum, the front door was locked. It appears that a lone staff member opens the door individually for each visitor, and then shows them the required 20 min intro video, in their appropriate language. 

Like all Eastern European museums on this theme, there is a trophy slice of the Berlin wall. There is also very little wayfinding or entry signage, and a minimal entry desk.

I watched the emotional video alone in an upstairs conference room, and then I was allowed to explore feely. Timisoara is the proud city that initiated the dangerous Romanian rebellion against Ceausescu, a few months later than Berlin, Prague, Budapest. The first and most polished installation is a chapel memorial for those killed in the uprising.

The rest of the museum is a string of rooms packed with an overload of photo and text.

The wall display technique is old school, literally similar to school hallway displays.

A more designed set of grey vinyl panels is still dense and disorganized in layout.

The filmstrip border adds to the visual overload of strips of same size photos.

The blue sky element is used with stories of "disappeared" victims.

Much of the content seems to be redundant. Since there is no consideration for placement or legibility, no visitor is going to read it all to find out. Fortunately the video, seen first, does the heavy lifting.

These Romanian flags are one of the few objects on show. Protesters cut the emblem from the center of the flags and wore them over their heads.

The most designed section, focused on Bucharest.

This is an example of a grassroots, organically grown museum that lacks curation, design and visitor awareness. What it does not lack is an obvious burning need to tell an intense story that is central to current life in Romania. It seems that the inability to leave anything out, or to prioritize or simplify, is a symptom of emotional attachment. Maybe history is vulnerable to the same process as personal memory. With enough time, a museum like this can review it's material and streamline it's story. But right now, everything is important, and equally so.