University of Bucharest Museum

The University of Bucharest Museum was founded on 29th July 1967; its collection comprises documents and valuable objects, with great significance for the history of the prestigious Bucharest educational institution. These testimonies describe a narrative that goes back in time until the establishment of the Royal Academy in Bucharest by Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, institution that became an important educational and cultural centre for Eastern Europe. Having been closed for renovation and modernisation for a year, the museum was reopened to the public on 16th July 2015, on the 151st anniversary of the founding of the University of Bucharest.

The University’s Museum holds over 2000 original and facsimile pieces in its collection, from the University’s own collection, as well as from private donations from its academic personnel and their descendants. The typology of these exhibits is diverse: documents, manuscripts, rare books, university courses, lithographies, photographs, blueprints, medals, booklets, insignia, flags, paintings, sculptures, inscriptions and furniture.

The facsimiles of documents issued by Phanariote princes, such as Grigore Ghica or Constantin Mavrocordat, are of particular interest: these documents reference important moments in the history of the Royal Academy in Bucharest. Furthermore, facsimiles of some courses by illustrious Academy professors (Neofit Duca, D. Notara) can be found on display. Some of the textbooks (on grammar, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry) written by Gheorghe Lazăr and Alexandru Orăscu for the students’ benefit come from the St. Sava Academy’s library.

The founding event is set apart by Alexandru Ioan Cuza’s decrees on the founding of the University of Bucharest, the confirmation of the University’s first chancellor (Gheorghe Costaforu), of the deans of the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences (Constantin Bosianu), the Faculty of Sciences (Alexandru Orăscu) and the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy (August Treboniu Laurian). Moreover, a reference point is the cornerstone of the University’s old building, placed on the foundation date of the edifice, 10th October 1857.

The University of Bucharest was brilliantly represented in the interwar period by its academic personnel and its students and the Museum hosts the Doctor Honoris Causa diplomas of the Universities of Oxford and Paris received by N. Iorga, the PhD diplomas earned at prestigious foreign universities by Al. Orăscu, Spiru Haret, Nicolae Măldărescu, as well as other titles and distinctions.

Academic activity during the communist era can be construed via a series of novel photographs, diplomas or transcripts of records. For the Centennial, a series of prestigious higher education institutions from around the world (Cambridge, Oxford, Paris etc) sent congratulatory messages, diplomas and booklets to the University; these are exhibited in the museum. At the same time, the Doctor Honoris Causa diploma awarded to Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1973 is also on display.

The last part of the exhibit portrays the way the University has changed from 1989 to the present day, following its institutional development, international visibility and the evolution of student life.