Our history

After the Compromise of 1867 it was not difficult to find followers and sponsors for fostering the local history in Székesfehérvár. Not only the tombs of Stephen I., Louis I., Matthias Corvinus and the events in the whole country played a huge role in this. The excavations of Imre Henszlmann uncovered the remains of the royal basilica, which is one of the most important relics of our history.
Henszlmann Imre
Contemporary engraving of the 1862 excavations in Székesfehérvár | Imre Henszlmann 1813-1888

After some short and enthusiastic preparations the Historical and Archaeological Association of Fejér County and Székesfehérvár held its statutory meeting on the 27th October 1873. The association has had 137 members by that time. The members were mostly local nobles, citizens of prestige, public figures, bishops, clerical members. Among them were Bishop Jácint Rónai, university teacher Béla Czobor and János Károly. The results of the association were linked only to two periods (1873-85; 1892-93), when a very helpful Lord Lieutenant was the head of the county.

Arnold Marosi 1873-1939
After the turn of the century, only its collection remained from the association. The museum-case came to light again when Arnold Marosi was moved from Pécs to Székesfehérvár to rearrange the museum in 1909. The new museum was opened in the Oskola Street 16. in rental rooms. The good financial situations opened the doors for huge activity. Marosi saved countless findings between 1910 and 1939. For example the big earthwork of Pákozd from the Bronze Age, the first excavations in Tác (Gorsium), the late Roman cemetery of Csákvár, the excavations in the Avarian cemeteries of Csákberény and Előszállás. He has also initiated the new excavations of the basilica in Székesfehérvár between 1936-38. He laid down the foundation of the museum’s ethnographical, local historical, anthropological and natural science collection. He also published the periodical “Székesfehérvári Szemle”, wrote a lot of interesting columns and held a lot of lectures between 1931-39.

Jenő Fitz 1921-2011
After Marosi’s death, the golden age of the museum has ended. The war caused a lot of damage to the building, but the collections remained unharmed. After the year of change in 1949, the governing board of the Hungarian National Museum moved Jenő Fitz to Székesfehérvár as the follower of Ferenc Fülöp. Under the 40-year-direction of Jenő Fitz evolved today’s county-museum-structure. He arranged scientific departments, library, exhibition rooms, and workshops. The St. Stephen Museum has become a determinant location of the Hungarian museology and become internationally famous. The central support opened the door for arranging modern stack-rooms and establishing recordings. It also covered the high costs of rescue excavations. Until 1956 beside two archaeologists one ethnographer was working in Fejér County.

The publications of the museum restarted with a copy machine that we received as a present. Beside the publication of the first catalogues, transactions and booklets the museum has tried as well to rearrange the “Székesfehérvári Szemle”. In 1955 the Circle of Museum-friends was set up, in 1960 with the support of the government the publishing of the almanac “Alba Regia” could start. The almanac has published studies from the beginning in German, French, English and Italian languages. Because of this the museum became famous and our almanac became an outstanding periodic abroad.

Székesfehérvári szemle Alba Regia István Király Múzeum Közleményei
Székesfehérvári Szemle
III-IV., 1934
Alba Regia. Annales Musei Stephani Regis IV-V., 1965 István Király Múzeum Közleményei. No. 30, 1991
In 1962 the regional museums came to the powers of the county councils. In Fejér County beside the St. Stephen Museum the Intercisa Museum of Dunaújváros and a lot of memorial houses and exhibitions(Gár­dony, Ká­pol­nás­nyék, Mar­ton­vá­sár, Vál, Csák­vár, Ce­ce, Su­ko­ró, Sza­bad­baty­tyán, Pá­kozd, Fü­le) became a part of the county direction. The budget, the staff, the scientific and cultural activity has multiplied. The new conditions enabled to organize long-range and exacting programs. Beside Gorsium more significant excavation programmes blossomed out.

Beside the scientific activity, the museum’s strong point became the exhibition programme. The Csontváry-exhibition gave it a head start. The countrywide attention opened the door for more exhibition series and events, which could attract the attention for decades. Beside the four significant series new forms of public education have developed: series of lectures, concerts and the summer games of Gorsium.

By the beginning of the 80’s the collection of the county museum has outnumbered 1 Million pieces and turned into the three biggest collections of the country. In Székesfehérvár we can find beside the old museum building more new institutions: the István Csók Gallery, the Budenz-House, the Black Eagle Pharmacy Museum, the Schaár-Collection, the exhibition spot of the Former Countyhall and the outdoor village museum of Palotaváros. A wider enlarging was the possession of the former Jesuit convent.

On the corridor of the ground floor we present the Roman museum of stonework, on the first floor we established a new archaeological exhibition which won the European Museum of the Years Award – Special Commendation in 1993.

The institution named after King St. Steven (Szent István) incorporates several exhibition spots. The museum collects, systematizes, researches and presents the material of four scientific fields.

European Museum of the Year
The aim of the museum is to collect, treat and research, conserve, protect and present the heritage of ethnography, archaeology, visual and industrial art and local history. We are trying to present our collections to the visitors as an interesting, clear and delightful journey through time.