Editor's Note

How much does a museum represent in contemporary cultural life? Is it still a necessity today? Is the support provided to museology, or to be more precise, to acquisitions, specific research, conservation and restoration a good investment? All in all, is there any future for the temple of the Muses? Such questions arise more often as the acceleration of life in modern society leaves less and less moral and physical space to tradition.A correctly interpreted museum patrimony means first and foremost preserving authentic values and passing them on: archives, libraries, documentation, the art of exhibition, sustained by professionalism, a just hierarchy of values, rigorousness, and refinement. All this obviously requires financial support. Museums are supposed to blend high professionalism, careful selection and a harmonious presentation: tailored after these principles, they may represent an exceptionally enjoyable form of education, which explains the massive influx of visitors to exemplary museums all over the world.This issue of PLURAL brings rural civilization into the spotlight starting from two open-air museums in Romania, presumably the best: The National Village Museum of Bucharest and The Dumbrava Sibiului Museum of Sibiu, both viable institutions built on scientific foundations by outstanding personalities, and keepers of inestimable treasures. A tourist's stopover? A museum may be contemplated in this way too. Yet how many European capitals enjoy such elevated refuges? The interest stirred by The Village Museum is proven by the thousands of foreign and local visitors attracted by the peasant households, wood sculptures, tapestries and embroideries, icons and other specific objects that aim to cover every single region, while Dumbrava Sibiului generously invites its guests to reflect on traditional crafts. The selection of texts that accompany their presence in this issue is focused on two fundamental principles of folk mythology and philosophy: creation and destruction, birth and death, and the role of sacrifice, as in the famous legend of Master Builder Manole.

by Aurora Fabritius