The Treasures of the Town of Kremnica
The Museum in Kremnica is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in Slovakia. While the museum’s official existence dates from the 19th century, noteworthy items were collected in Kremnica in much earlier times. The town kept them as its “treasures”, the earliest written mention of which appears in 1724. The items collected by the town authority became the basis of the museum and its oldest and most valuable core. Even in these early days, coins and medals made up a relatively large part of the collection owing to the rich tradition of coin-making in Kremnica.
The Establishment of the Museum
The museum was officially founded by archivist and historian Pavol Križko in 1890. That year he selected items worth exhibiting from the town’s archives and thus created the first museum exhibition. The museum separated from the archives in 1955. The driving forces of this change came from archivist Teodor Lamoš and the first director of the independent museum Otto Hellenstein. The museum moved into a new building and became an organisation with competence on the level of the district. In 1956 the museum purchased all the material from a national exhibition on the history of the Kremnica mint. These items became the basis of a new permanent numismatic exhibition in the museum.
The Museum of Coins and Medals
What began as a regional museum was becoming better known as a specialised numismatic institution. This trend culminated in 1976 when it was transformed into a specialised national Museum of Coins and Medals. One of the consequences was the opening of a new permanent exhibition on the history of mining, minting and medal-making (1978). From this point on, the museum focused on more actively documenting the activity of the Kremnica mint, numismatics, medal-making and philately. In 1983 it founded the tradition of symposia of medal-makers in Kremnica, which continues to this day. In 1985, 1989 and 1993, the museum organised three successful editions of the International Quadrennial of Medal Art.
After the Velvet Revolution
After 1989 responsibility for the museum changed hands several times. At the start of 1991 it was taken over by the Ministry of Culture and from 1 January 1992 it was transferred to the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic. Ultimately, it became part of Národná banka Slovenska from 1 April 1994 due to its numismatic profile.
Národná banka Slovenska and Numismatics
After the Museum of Coins and Medals was integrated into NBS, its numismatic specialisation further intensified, and it raised the quality of its professional and presentational activities. The museum acquired thousands of new numismatic items while also restoring its regional history and visual art collections. It also organised many exhibitions. Besides many numismatic and art history exhibitions in Slovakia, the museum organised a series of exhibitions on the theme Coins and Medals from Slovakia which toured the USA (1994), Mexico (1995), Portugal and Spain (1996) and the Netherlands (1999).
The Museum of Coins and Medals has won major national awards for its work. In 1996 and 2007 it received the annual prize of the magazine Pamiatky a múzeá (1996: for the restoration of the town castle in Kremnica, 2007: for the long-term art history exhibition Collectors’ Journeys in the Art of the 15th to 18th Centuries). In 2003 and 2007 the museum was declared Museum of the Year (2003: for the exhibition Two Faces of Money, 2007: for the long-term historical and artistic exhibition Collectors’ Journeys in the Art of the 15th to 18th Centuries).