register Homepage

Országos Színháztörténeti Múzeum és Intézet (Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute), OSZMI

Building of OSZMI A dozen and a half separate collections enclose the invaluable traces of the artform most susceptible to evanescence: paintings, photographs, posters, props, video recordings – and many more...Based on these resources a comprehensive information database is being built and constantly updated ( Our unique specialist theatre library and documentation centre is frequently used by theatre specialists, researchers and the larger public of theatre goers.

The special nature of the theatrical medium is illustrated by a puppet collection and dance archive, testifying that borderline events, intriguing and unknown phenomena are in the limelight of contemporary theatre thinking. Over forty volumes can be ordered from our website; we publish the yearbook of Hungarian theatre (a comprehenisve data resource), studies in theatre sociology, international drama collections in English (e.g. the Visegrad drama series), scolarly works, studies on the newest Hungarian theatre tendencies and theatre history in English and French. With our English and Hungarian online newsletters and our presence in the specialist press we inform theatre practitioners home and abroad about the newest theatrecial events, problems and approaches (email us to subscribe). We regularly organize conferences, seminars and numerous roundtable discussions on the most current issues related to theatre production, historiography, museology, theatre documentation; we also host the workshop of theatre history writing.

Our international relations spread around the globe, we facilitate sharing of expertise between international and Hungarian theatre specialists and promote the most important international theatre centres and trends to the Hungarian public. We are members and organizers of international research projects, especially representing and promoting Eastern European perfroming art tendencies, together with our partner institutes from the neighbouring countries.


The Institute

The Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute was established on the 2nd of November, 1952 and moved into its current building in 1954. It began as the Institute of Theatre Arts and Motion Picture. From 1957 to 1991, after the secession of the Hungarian Film Archive, the Institute continued to work as the Hungarian Theatre Institute. From 1991 it has been called Hungarian Theatre Museum and Institute (HTMI).

We are a modern information centre and research institute whose main mission is to provide the Hungarian and foreign public with a complex information service in the areas of theatre, ballet, dance, puppet theatre and other forms of the performing arts. The Theatre Institute also conducts statistical surveys and analytical studies in the field of Hungarian theatre for the needs of specialists and public administrative bodies. We are both a museum of nationwide collection interest and an up to date scientific and research institute. Our main tasks are to promote the development of the Hungarian theatrical culture, to foster the scientific activity of experts in the history of Hungarian theatre; to register the noteworthy events of the theatrical life in Hungary and to preserve, systematize and publish the written, material and audiovisual remains and documents.

During our office hours the research library, documentation department, several on-line databases central and the historical collections are at the disposal of the visiting experts. The Hungarian Center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) can also be found in our building. We work in constant collaboration with ITI on specific projects and publications. In order to promote scientific work we launch research projects, organize seminars and participate in translation and publication of theoretical and historical works in the field of theatre. The institute collection mainly focuses on relics of Hungarian origin. The area of collecting comprises the territory of the historical Greater Hungary and encompasses the time frame between the 17th century up to the present day. However in our video and photo archive, documentation department, dance archive and puppet archive you can find a great deal of documents relating to foreign theatrical productions. The collection and translation of documents in to foreign languages is the task of the international experts of the institute.


The Building

The Institute is housed in a harmonious, Classicist style building in the former Áldásy Palace, in Budapest's first district. This part of the capital, called Krisztinaváros, developed gradually from a picturesque, hill-ringed site with gardens and vineyards into a luxurious villa-district from the late 17th century onwards. The original palace, built by captain Antal Áldásy, was converted into a multi-storey building in the 40ies of the 19th century. Adam Clark, a Scottish engeneer who married into the Áldásy family lived here from 1855 until his death in 1866. It was Clark who constructed the Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge over the Danube (opened in 1849) and the tunnel under the Castle Hill in Budapest. In 1931 another important renovation took place: richly adorned iron grates in copf style were attached to the windows. Under the large rooms of the Institute you can still find the old domed cellar in its original shape as well as the doorway leading into the pillar-framed archway on the ground level and an old drinking fountain. The peaceful inner yard encloses a refreshing space of serenity and silence, still retaining something of the historical atmosphere of this part of the city.


The Museum

The Gizi Bajor Actors' Museum, also managed by our institute, developed from the inheritance of Hungarian actress Gizi Bajor (1893–1951) and now has a uniquely rich permanent exhibition, which gives a memento to the golden ages of the Hungarian theatre art, and our most outstanding actor personalities. Those interested in the mysteries of theatre creations can receive a memorable behind-the-scenes glimpse into the distinct phases of theatre making. Our temporary exhibitions, accompanied by exciting programmes, stage the most important events and eras of theatre history and display the work of the most intriguing contemporary theatre artists.

The museum's special atmosphere is greatly defined by the neo-baroque, early 20th century villa and its compelling garden and park, which used to be the property of Gizi Bajor – the building that stands out and fits into the city at the same time makes both relaxation and careful observation possible.

museum Interior model

The content

Theatre photos and videos
This part of our collection is the most extensive and highly valuable, since the photographs and videos are the most informative in remembering/reconstructing a past theatrical performance. The resource contains about 500 thousand theatre photographs (also from the late 19th. century), 3000 video recordings (mainly from 1986 onwards and valuable sound archives on LP and magnetic tape, richly documenting Hungarian performances and their reception. The selection for ECLAP mostly comprises photos of the performances of the National Theatre in Budapest, which have already entered public domain. The publication of these pictorial materials is of extreme importance for the researchers of Hungarian theatre, since the visual resources on these old performances are very sparse. Short fragments were selected from the performance videos available in our collection, most of which are still preserved on analogue video tapes in our collection. It is of course possible to watch the whole performances on our premises, but we believe that these fragments could also serve as important illustrative tools in the research and educational elaboration of these Hungarian theatre performances. The selection principle was to highlight the most acclaimed theatrical achievements of the Hungarian theatre – both institutional and independent – from the seventies to our days. As reference, we have used the prizes received on different theatre festivals and different rankings of theatre specialists.  

Az ember tragédiája (6. részlet)
Madách Imre: Az ember tragédiája, Hevesi Sándor Színház (Zalaegerszeg); Eredeti címe: Az ember tragédiája; Bemutató: 1983.10.11; Rendező: Ruszt József; Díszlet: Menczel Róbert; Jelmez: Vágvölgyi Ilona

A dolovai nábob lánya
Herczeg Ferenc: A dolovai nábob lánya; Társulat: Nemzeti Színház, Budapest; Bemutató: 1893.03.10; Szereplők: Lóránt főhadnagy: Császár Imre; Felvétel ideje: 1893; Technika: Sokszorosított nyomat (képeslap)


We have about three thousand posters, published from 1890 to our days. The earliest bills were printed on silk, while some of the graphic posters are true masterpieces on their own. We tried to publish all the graphic posters from our collection in ECLAP, so that it might be used as a reference in a comparative research with other theatre posters in Europe. Even by browsing through them in a timeline, one can learn so much about what the different eras thought about theatre and how different visual means they used to make it attractive for the public.


Reviews and interviews

Our extensive collection of press cuts constitutes the prime source of information for researchers in the history of the Hungarian theatre. Since some time now we try to collect the increasing number of reviews, previews, interviews and other theatre related articles in a digital format to ease the access and searchability of them for the researchers. We hope that by publishing them online through ECLAP they will reach an even higher audience.


Marat és a forradalom
Weiss, Peter: Jean Paul Marat üldöztetése és meggyilkolása, ahogy a charentoni elmegyógyintézet színjátszói előadják de Sade úr betanításában, Csiky Gergely Színház, Kaposvár, 1981.12.04


Our collection of scenography comprises set and costume designs, maquettes, photos of décor elements, drawings, plans. The collection of these items started in the year of foundation, 1952. To the core collection elements other subsidiary items attach: film negatives, photographs, fashion plates, etc. following the rugged production track from the first sketches to the finalized décor. The oldest items in the collection are the Jesuit Stage Designs from Sopron (see our virtual exhibition), a colligate of more than one hundred watercolour designs and etchings from the early 18th century, which were bought by our institute in 1965 from the Storno family in Sopron (Ödeburg).

Siki Emil, díszlletterv
Készítő: Siki Emil; Használat: Budapest, Madách Színház; Anyag: papír; Technika: tempera; 1965

Vogel Eric, jelmezterv
Készítő: Vogel Eric; Használat: Budapest; Anyag: papír; Technika: tempera, ceruza rajz; 1950-es évek

Dance photos

We have been preserving the memory of the Hungarian dance life from the 1880 onwards, collecting the data of domestic and guest dance performances. Next to collecting and offering assistance to researchers the Dance Archive carries out different other activities. We regularly prepare temporary exhibitions and publish the data of the Hungarian dance life in the Theatre Yearbook issued by the Theatre Institute. The two dance historians, who constitute the staff of the Archive, are regular organizers and participants of conferences and other professional events. The Archive has strong connections with the all the important national receiving venues and professional organizations and specialized press organs. The dance photos we have selected for the ECLAP present some outstanding achievements of the Hungarian dance history, also with some events of high international interest: for instance the premieres of Béla Bartók’s ballets.


A csodálatos mandarin, Magyar Állami Operaház, (Budapest)
Társulat: Magyar Állami Operaház, (Budapest), Zeneszerző: Bartók Béla; Koreográfus: Harangozó Gyula


Diótörő, Magyar Állami Operaház, (Budapest)
Társulat: Magyar Állami Operaház, (Budapest); Rendező: Vajnonen, Vaszilij, Zeneszerző: Csajkovszkij, Pjotr; Koreográfus: Vajnonen, Vaszilij

Publications in theatre theory and history

In our library we keep nearly six thousand specialist volumes in Hungarian and foreign languages, of which several rarities and curiosities, on ballet, folk dance, modern dance, pantomime, contemporary dance, movement art, dance history and theory and dance pedagogy, from the 1790's to the most recent books. For ECLAP we have selected the most important publications OSZMI has issued since its foundation up to our days. These works, which were printed in a very limited number of copies, are indispensable resources in theatre theory and the history of the Hungarian theatre. With the online publication through ECLAP of these recently digitized volumes we hope to be of significant help to our researchers and be able to draw their attention to these sometimes forgotten treasures.


Location on the map

Click here if you are not registered and, you agree to Join ECLAP and Working Groups !

Click here if you are already registered on ECLAP and you intend to join this ECLAP Working Group!

To access to this group:

  • You must login in order to post into this group.