The Dr. Nicolae Minovici Museum was the first museum dedicated to folk art in Bucharest. Inaugurated in 1906, “the national art museum” first functioned as a private institution. Nicolae Minovici gained the support of architect Cristofi Cerkez in building this unique construction on the northern side of Bucharest. The Dr. Nicolae Minovici villa is one of the first neo-Romanian constructions in Bucharest, built between 1905 and 1906.
The villa was surrounded by a splendid 1900s style garden, to the arrangement of which contributed decorative sculptor Wilhelm August von Becker, between the years 1911-1913. Along with the garden, there was also “a farm meant for the cultivation of fruit-bearing trees, the growth of plants, and the raising of fowl.” In 1937 Nicolae Minovici donated his collection along with the house and its grounds to the Commune of Bucharest.
Nicolae Minovici founded the Salvarea Society (1906), the first emergency hospital in Romania (1937), and was the Principal of the Forensic Medicine Institute between 1933 and 1940.
The museum’s collection of folkloric art was gradually put together through Minovici’s own acquisitions, between the years 1900 and 1941. A large part of the collection is formed by traditional garbs from Suceava, Ilfov-Vlaşca and Argeş, and woven fabric from Oltenia. The ceramic pieces are representative of all Romanian ethnographic areas of today, as well as pottery workshops which no longer exist, such as Bîrsa (Arad) or St. Troiţă (Bucharest-Popa Savu Street).
The collection also includes glass-painted icons from Ardeal, clothing and accessories, traditionally dyed eggs gathered from all over the country, as well as inter-war artworks signed by Eustaţiu Stoenescu, Arthur Verona, Bednarik, Costin Petrescu etc. The Dr. Nicolae Minovici Folk Art Museum is over a century old (existing since 1905) and sets a standard for urban memorial museums.