Hungarian National Museum

Budapest, Hungary

The Hungarian National Museum was founded in 1802 and is the national museum for the history, art and archaeology of Hungary. The museum is in Budapest VIII in a purpose-built Neoclassical building from 1837-47 by the architect Mihály Pollack.

The Hungarian National Museum traces its foundation to 1802 when Count Ferenc Széchényi set up the National Széchényi Library. This would then be followed a year later by the donating of a mineral collection by Széchényi’s wife. This led to the creation of the Hungarian National Museum as a general and natural history museum, and not only a library. In 1807 the Hungarian National Parliament passed legislation on the new institution and asked the nation to help donate to the museum.

The Hungarian Parliament of 1832-1834 helped with the growth of the museum as well. The parliament voted in favor of giving half a million forint to help with the construction of a new building for the museum. During this time the Hungarian National History Museum was officially set up under the Hungarian National Museum. Later in 1846, the museum moved to its current location of VIII. Múzeum krt. 14-16. Here the museum resides in a neo-classical style building designed by Mihály Pollack.

In 1848 the Hungarian National Museum played a major role in the Hungarian Revolution. The Revolution was partially spurred by the reading of Sándor Petőfi’s 12 points and the famous poem Nemzeti dal on the front steps of the museum. This helped give the museum an identification as a major national identity for Hungary. In remembrance of the revolution two statues were added to the museum. The first is a statue of János Arany which was unveiled in 1883. Later in 1890 there was a statue next to the stairs of the museum of a memorial tablet to Sándor Petőfi. In addition during this time the Upper House of the parliament held its sessions in the Cereminial of the museum. This continued until the new house of Parliament was built. Today in remembrance festivities for National Commemorations Day of 1848 are held in front of the museum.

In 1949 an act mandated that the ethnographic and natural history part of the Hungarian National Museum had to split off of the main museum, and are now the Hungarian Natural History Museum and Ethnographic Museum. This also helped with the setting up of the modern day National Széchényi Library. All of these separate museums are still interconnected and other museums and monuments have become affiliated with them over time. The most recent addition was the Castle Museum in Esztergom that joined in 1985.


The Hungarian National Museum has seven permanent displays. The general history of Hungary is covered in two sections: the archaeology from prehistory to the Avar period ending in 804 AD on the first (ground) floor, and the history from 804 to modern times on the first floor. This display covers topics such as the age of the Arpads, the long Turkish occupation, Transylvania and royal Hungary. More modern and Contemporary history covered begins with the Rákóczi War of Independence, showing different sections of his military attire and various coins. The history section then ends with the rise and fall of the communist system in Hungary. In another hall on the second floor one can find out about the Scholar Hungarians who made the twentieth century. A room on the first floor displays the medieval Hungarian Coronation Mantle.

The ground floor’s permanent exhibit is focused on Medieval and Early Modern stone inscriptions and carvings. This exhibit looks at various stone relics and the carvings that have been made into them. The majority of the items in this collection were discovered during the 60’s and 70’s since they looked for more relics post World War II. The final permanent exhibit is placed in the basement of the museum. This is the Roman Lapidary exhibit, which is a collection of ancient Roman stone inscriptions and carvings.



Your name


Founded: 1802
Category: Museums in Hungary


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Aniko T (5 months ago)
One of the best and most beautiful parks in the city! It's clean, child-friendly with a playground, lot of flowers, trees and benches. We love it! It closes at 9 pm.
Alex Hodko (7 months ago)
Amazing architecture and impressive building, situated in central Budapest. The museum showcases Hungarian history and has beautiful grounds to work around. Easily accessible on foot or by public transport it’s another one of Budapest’s beautiful buildsings.
Authentic Experience (7 months ago)
One of the most important place to visit in Budapest if you’re planning to visit this city or already in this city. You will see amazing details about the history of modern Hungary and how it came to the current situation. There is Always room for some improvement but managed quite well. You will see the amazing artifacts to dark history and you will see suffer, pain, sorrow and braveness of Hungarian people and Hungary. They have managed to exhibit everything quite simple but in impressive style. Ticket price are moderate compared to other places in Budapest. Highly recommended and most important place to visit if you’re in Hungary Magyarország ??
Zubair Shehraz (12 months ago)
Beautiful building with lovely gardens surrounding it. We visited a few weekends ago to go and see the World Press Photo exhibition, which shows the best journalistic photographs taken over the last year. The photos were taken in several different countries all around the globe and gave a fascinating insight into the cultural landscapes and socioeconomic plights faced by people in countries I knew very little about. The information that accompanied the photos was detailed and was really helpful in providing context for the images. A fascinating exhibition. We had a great day out and after we’d seen the photos, we enjoyed our lunch in the gardens as the weather was lovely.
Serfozo Nora (13 months ago)
We visited the The World Press Exhibition some days ago on a weekday. We arrived at 5pm and we expected that we have an hour to explore until closing. While purchasing the tickets no one said a word about leaving the exhibition at 17:45 is a must because the museum closes at 6 pm as we learnt from one of the grumpy museum staff. It was hard to find the exhibition entrance too without clear signs, losing the precious time in the process. The staff should have stopped to feel irritated by the visitors, we are not their enemy... all in all, it was a bad museum experience, do not recommend it.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.