The History And Archeology Museum Of Tulcea

The History and Archeology Museum (HAM) is a main component of the Institute for Ecomuseum Research, Tulcea (IER). Although it was practically established in 1975 by the permanent history and archeology exhibition at the former Danube Delta Museum, inside an edifice located in Independence Monument Park, its history can be completely identified with the last 50 years of evolution of Tulcea museology, throughout which fundamental structural transformations have taken place.  Considering the evolution of the legal framework in the field of museum management, HAM has structured its activity by focusing on the following coordinates:
- scientific organization, management, preservation and restoration of the museum heritage; 
- scientific research, recording, reference materials, protecting and developing the museum heritage;
- capitalization on the museum heritage with the purpose of education, knowledge and leisure. 

A. HAM has constantly tried to gather a rich and valuable patrimony. This objective led to the initiation of a research program which has developed remarkably in the entire Northern Dobrogea, one of the most important archeological areas in Romania. Whilst in its early period the museum was associated with research institutes from Bucharest, it continued on its own, the archeological sites proving full professional maturity and local financial independence. Many of the digging sites in Tulcea county became reference points in Romanian archeology research: Orgame/ Argamum – Jurilovca, (L)Ibida – Slava Rusa, Noviodunum – Isaccea, Halmyris – Murighiol, Luncavita, Babadag and Nufaru. The management of this valuable and rich patrimony is carried out in deposits arranged at the headquarters in Tulcea (in which primarily the restored objects can be found) or on archeological sites (Isaccea, Jurilovca, Slava Rusa, Enisala, Murighiol, Garvan) and in the research centers (Celic Dere) built nearby these sites. 
Scientific research is, undoubtedly, the domain in which most of the investments were made. Along with scientific capitalization, investments are considered the key point in the activity of the staff of the History and Archeology section within IER Tulcea.
Research has been developed through proper financing and efficient human resources management. The institute delivered at least three generations of museum curators and scientists appreciated both at national and international level. Today, 14 specialists are working within HAM and their objects of research refer to the three main periods of human presence in the northern part of Dobrogea: prehistory, Greek and Roman periods, and medieval. They successfully take part in national and international research projects, initiate and coordinate such projects. In this respect the museum has always been available for national and international programs; It has facilitated work mobility for the specialists in research centers acknowledged in Romania and abroad, and, consequently, has demanded high professional standards from those involved in research activity. The museum is constantly trying to adapt to external changes. The outstanding development of infrastructure projects, the investments made in the private sector imposed a reorientation to preventive archeology research. In this context, an internal structure has been created whose staff is capable of rapidly taking action in any area of Tulcea county. In this way, other functions of the museum can be developed such as record keeping, data gathering and preservation of patrimony. 

C. Activity at the museum is centered on:The permanent exhibition of HAM has begun a process of reorganization which takes into account the latest trends in museum management. A first stage was accomplished by the setting up of a generous exhibition space of 92.5 sqm dedicated to the North Dobrogea thesaurus. In all three exhibition halls, the archeological material which consists of 15,214 pieces (coins, jewels, pottery, metalwork, old books) is displayed according to the themes of interest: Greeks and Getae on the Lower Danube, Romans on the Lower Danube, Under the Sign of Byzantium, New Beginnings, Under the Sign of the Crescent Moon, Stability, illustrating the economic, cultural and religious history in the North Dobrogea area between the 5th century BC and the 18th century AD. Currently, museum specialists are finalizing themes for the entire permanent exhibition. A real success was the setting up of exhibition centers in Sulina – the Lighthouse Museum with an interesting collection regarding the European Commission for Danube and the writer Eugeniu Botez (Jean Bart) – and in Niculitel. The latter was set up around an impressive early Christian complex composed of a basilica in three volumes, and a narthex built at the end of 4th century AD during the reign of Emperor Valens and rebuilt during Emperor Theodosius II above a monumental crypt in which the remains of six Christian martyrs have been found. These projects meet the expectations of a constant and interested public which addressed the two main components of modern tourism: secular, in the case of the first center, and religious for the second. HAM is collaborating with similar institutions in setting up big exhibitions, with generous themes, which justify its vocation of being a center of national importance. This initiative had a great impact both in the scientific world and the public at large. The exhibitions organized along with important political or cultural events were a special success. One of the most recent projects was the exhibition Aveyron-Tulcea: Des racines communes, which opened in four locations in France, including the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, and in Romania during the World Summit of French-speaking Nations (Bucharest, 2006).- publishing specialized studies and volumes, addressed to the scientific community. The museum has an annual magazine called Peuce which promotes the scientific works of its specialists and the most important contributions from the partners from Romania and from abroad. The prestige of this publication is proven by the consistent feedback from similar institutions and by frequent quoting in international data bases. Its editors are involved in publishing the monographs and doctoral theses of its own researchers in the Istro-Pontic Library, Archeology Series, and in the publication of the papers of the funeral archeology colloquia organized by IER Tulcea (which is a founding member of the Association for Study of Funeral Archeology). - organization of exhibitions. The institution benefits from generous exhibition spaces (two pavilions in the museum headquarters, Lighthouse Museum in Sulina, Niculitel site) which can offer support for temporary or long term projects. Undoubtedly, most of these initiatives have had a special impact at local, national and even national level, considering that the museum is permanently interested in the adaptation and variation of its cultural offer.
The research program along with an adequate donation and acquisition policy resulted in the gathering of a patrimony estimated at 93,000 items by the end of 2006. The numismatics collection alone holds 45,000 pieces of antique, medieval and modern origin. Among these are included the greatest part of the impressive thesaurus, one of the most important in Europe, found at Uzun Baiyr with over 21,000 Tatar dirhams, 195 Byzantine hyperpers, 75 silver ingots, gold and silver jewelry. We must not forget the collections of early Christian and Christian artifacts specific for the beginning of Christianity on the banks of Lower Danube. This collection is mainly composed of pieces found in the early Christian basilica of Niculitel, the graveyard basilica of Beroe and in monastic complex of the first Christians from (L)Ibida – Slava Rusa, and it consists of figurative bronze pieces, ceramics (among which elegant silhouettes of Hamangia pottery or Greek pottery discovered in the ancient city of Orgame), jewels, sculptural and epigraphic objects, various metal items.

by Cristian Micu