History of the museum, collection fund
The idea of setting up a museum in the Bojnice Castle came from its last noble owner, Count Ján Pálffy. In his will dated November 14, 1907, he expressed his wish that the castle be made available to the public and that the works of art remain in their original places for visitors to see.
After the death of Jan Pálffy, his heirs did not respect his last will and contested the will in court. They sold off the valuable collection funds at auctions. Part of the collections managed to be preserved thanks to an agreement between the heirs and the government of Czechoslovakia specifying which collections are not to be the subject of auctions (these became the property of the state).
The castle became open to the general public as soon as 1907. At that time, the only guide was the castellan of the castle, later on, he was replaced by students of high schools and universities.
In 1941, the administration of Bojnice Manor allowed the members of the Upper Nitra Museum Association to place their archeological, ethnographic, ethnological and historical collections in the premises of the castle. They were stored in the premises of the Winter Garden.
A major turning point in the castle’s history was the fire that broke out on May 9, 1950. The fire damaged all the castle towers (to a different extent). Following the fire, tours of the castle premises were put on hold, and the Council of the Local National Committee in Bojnice immediately asked the competent authorities to restore the castle. The Council also proposed to establish a museum in the premises of the castle. The Council in Nitra by resolution no. 107/1950 of September 7, 1950, decided on the establishment of the Regional Museum of Local History, based in Bojnice Castle.
Renovation works began immediately after the fire. They were completed in the autumn of 1951. The management of the museum gradually made place for museum’s exposition in the premises of the castle. The core of the collection was the inventory of the former Upper Nitra Museum, the Municipal Museum in Nitrianské Pravno and the State Museum in Nitra, as well as collections from manor houses in Tesárske Mlyňany, Beladicie, Továrnik, Horné Lefantoviece, Uhrovec, Zemianske Kostoľany and other manors in the region and several church buildings and monasteries.
The first exhibition in the renovated castle premises took place on September 2, 1951. As a regionally-active institution, the museum was given the role of a methodical and advisory center for museums in the region.
After the territorial reorganization in 1960, the museum stopped fulfilling the role of a regional institution and became a regional workplace focusing on researching the history of Upper Ponitrie. As part of the new network of museums in the Central Slovak Region, the museum became the go-to history museum of the Prievidza district. In 1969, the Bojnice Museum was placed under the direct management of the Ministry of Culture of the SSR, and in 1979 under the Central Administration of Museums and Galleries in Bratislava.
In 1970, the Bojnice Castle was declared a national cultural monument.
A new chapter in the history of the Bojnice Museum began to be written on March 24, 1981, when the museum received a new statute when it became a specialized workplace with a pan-Slovak scope for documenting and presenting and presentation of the neo-modern period in Slovakia. It was then that the decision was made to end the existence of local history exhibitions in Bojnice Castle. The new exhibits were made available to visitors in the spring of 1983.
In 1984, the Upper Nitra Museum with a native history character was created, displaying archaeological, local history, natural history, ethnological and historical collections. After the delimitation, Prievidza became its headquarters from 1986 onwards.
From 1988 to 1991, the Specialized Museum of Bojnice was managed by the Slovak National Museum (SNM) in Bratislava, from 1992 to June 30, 1996, it was managed as an independent Bojnice Museum by the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. Since 1996, the museum has been managed managed by SNM Bratislava as an independent organizational unit.
The Bojnice Museum is a specialized art-historical museum with nationwide scope. It is a scientific and research workplace that acquires, protects, processes, collects and exhibits documents about the artistic-historical development of the national cultural monument Bojnice Castle, artifacts on neo-styles found in the territory of Slovakia, works of art and artistic crafts. After 1989, the museum became a pioneer in organizing cultural events.
The Bojnice Museum manages an extensive collection fund containing approximately 6,000 collection items.
It is divided into a collection of fine arts (painting and sculpture) and a collection of handicrafts (furniture, clocks, chandeliers and candlesticks, ceramics, earthenware, faience, porcelain, weapons, firearms, armor, textiles). Mgr. Katarína Malečková put together collections of documents on weapons, firearms, clocks and furniture (more are to come).
The period of the 17th and 18th centuries and the art of those period, which the former director of the castle Mgr. Ján Papco devoted to his lifelong work, are discussed in detail in several books on the topic.