The Lézerpont LÁTVÁNYTÁR (Image Museum) is a unique experience in the cultural tourism of Miskolc. The objects on display on the 600 m2 area are diverse and iconic; they allow visitors to travel back in time and history to different places. Travellers can go on a journey where they can see the biggest exhibition of traditional clothing in the Carpathian Basin, crafts of our grandfathers that are almost completely forgotten, the special object culture of the 1950s, rare minerals, and the fascinating world of optics.
"Mosaic – the utilisation for cultural and tourism purposes of the folk costumes of the Carpathian Basin, the wonders of the history of optics, small crafts sunk into oblivion and the material heritage of socialism in Lézerpont LÁTVÁNYTÁR (Lézerpont Showcase) in Miskolc.
Miskolc and its surroundings in the tourism market
In spite of the abundance of cultural and natural assets, the tourism profile of Miskolc and the surrounding area is significantly influenced by the fact that it des not have a tourism product that is marketable in a complex way. Due to the special city structure, several tourism destinations have formed, the development and sustainability of which demand significant financial and human resources. It is a significant problem that, although we experience a slow development in the increase in visitor’s time and the Europe’s Cultural Capital project resulted in a breakthrough in image forming – we still encounter negative prejudice.
Due to globalization, there are no boundaries, and, therefore, we have to keep pace with domestic and foreign competitors, which places a significant responsibility on the tourism profession as well as the local government.
In today’s “marketing noise” it is very difficult to reach the threshold value where people feel encouraged to travel and find Miskolc an attractive destination having the price-value proportion in sight.
A new, competitive attraction that works in the long run requires significant financial investments, which is currently difficult or not feasible.
Introduction to our folk culture and traditions
as a leading field of tourism
Folk costumes are well-established, recurring and spectacular accessories to grand events and festivals. Interest has risen for these, as a result of access to the EU and a lot of other factors. There is a steadily growing interest in these, since under the integration into the unified European value concept the salvation, preservation and presentation of national and individual values have a greater and greater significance. In the case of folk costumes some elements have perished during the time, and have become more and more inaccessible and irreplaceable in their original form due to the death of people preserving these.
As a result of a 30-year collection work, a unique collection of the original costumes of the peoples of the Carpathian Basin and its surroundings has been established.
Knowing the items of official and personal collections and the intention of collectors, we can surely claim that it may be the only such collection on display in Hungary but perhaps in Central Europe for a long time.
The exhibition opens up the opportunity to not only make up for the lack with an attraction famous nationwide, but to get established in a high-ranking position as well.
The antecedents of the ideaThe above points, among others, gave rise to the opportunity - first at the time of writing the application for Europe’s Cultural Capital - to make this collection of costumes available for visitors in 2010. The fate of our application is well-known, however, the idea about the display of the collection for the general public - due to the “leak of news” - started to live its own life. First our immediate environment, and. later, some professionals paying a visit here “demanded an explanation” for not making this collections presenting folk costumes
The current situation
of presenting folk traditions
In the past decades there have been periodic events, smaller or bigger occasions presenting geographical and ethnographical units, but some of the costumes were only presented for the general public as the setting of exhibitions of recent history organised for other purposes. In the local folk history houses, so popular today, there are some costumes on display, but only ones that are characteristic of the settlement.
Due to the increased interest in folk costumes – in lieu of other possibilities – doll museums, originally established for a different purpose, e.g. those of Abádszalók or Keszthely, also work as surrogates. The garments made in a toy size show the costumes in a simplified but ethnographically still acceptable version. They generate significant tourism.
Parallel to the construction of costume exhibitions, displays are also organized from objects evoking the recent past of culture, science, economy and everyday life.
The period after World War II, which may be characterised as a special detour of history, created a unique culture of objects. Political ideology became part of everyday life, establishing a social climate whose slogans and symbols had an impact on consumer demand. This is how a well-defined culture of objects emerged. The exhibition gives an insight into the atmosphere of the period with all its characteristics, and, therefore, the “luxury products” in their original wrapping, the everyday household appliances, works of art are found here just like advertising and political posters, quite a few items of the means of transport of the period, awards, the memorabilia of the socialist restructuring of agriculture and of course kitsch.
The common use of computers and laptops has exiled typing machines into a historical distance. The need for legibility and multiplication as well as for the mechanisation of computing is as old as writing. These were only possible by handwriting, time consuming and tiring “head counting.” After the appearance of printing nearly 300 years passed until “the lonely writer” could finally mechanise these tiresome activities. By the 1800s, the development of the knowledge of materials and machining reached the level where the first typewriters and calculators appeared. On display are some items from the early development of these objects, starting from the early experimental ones to computer printers, but some of the tools of the cable writer and telex are also on show.
A speciality of the exhibition is the so-called “gendarme” typewriter, which, instead of the usual ten-finger version, was designed only for three fingers: the user pointed at the font with a needle moved by one of the hands, and hits the key with the other one.
At the first hearing visitors might be surprised by the optics history exhibition, since the first thing to recall as belonging to optics is glasses. Nonetheless, this story dates back to the middle ages. Man has always been intrigued by getting acquainted with perspectives, the infinite, as well as the tiniest, microscopic things. This is how the telescope and the microscope became an inevitable tool of science. The more man researches into the world that he lives in, the more perfect tools he develops with which he may acquire knowledge about it as well. The optics history exhibition presents the major areas of the applied science utilising refraction, e.g., by displaying nearly 100 English magnifying glasses from 1780 to the microscopes manufactured today. The showcases contain teodolits of various ages, cameras and the tools of film making.
The special minerals from Transylvanian deep mines carry the message of millions of years. Viewing the impressive sight we can state that we do not come across such items on mineral fairs. The excavation of these minerals is impossible for enthusiastic collectors since Transylvanian precious metal deposits are not easily accessible.
The items of the collection include giant gypsum, quartz and other crystals forms in themselves and in various cohabiting forms, but there are also incredibly fine limestone formations as well.
In today’s mass produced world hand-made objects, devices, clothing items that display artisanship become more and more valued and appreciated.
There are fewer and fewer craftsmen, and their activities are presented at the occasional events of a cottage museum or a village museum as a special attraction.
In the faithfully furnished workshops, presenting ten craftsmanship visitors may get acquainted with the working conditions, machines and tools of as well as materials used by the barber, tailor, watchmaker, shoemaker, cooper, carriage and wheelwright, joiner, shopkeeper, iron smith, harness-maker and the rope maker.
Seeing the exhibition one can immerse into the every day life of craftsmen since we tried to arrange everything as if the master had just have stepped out from the workshop.
On April 11, 2008 the exhibitions were opened for the public, by which
The biggest showcase of the region
was realised, offering an exhibition with remarkable and diverse topics, the size of a programme in one place for all ages. The showcase can be a continuously renewing attraction because it is not a usual museum exhibition which is only worth visiting once, but may be expanded – depending on the extent of resources allocated to this - by other attractions later, e.g. interactive exhibition accessories, events related to the topics of the exhibitions – which are scarce in the region.
The extraordinary operation of the tourism attraction
The long-term operation is guaranteed by the unique opportunity that the Showcase (Látványtár), as biggest view workshop, will be integrated into the activities and spaces of Lézerpont Stúdió, which has been successfully operating for 16 years. Due to the parallelism, this opportunity has the advantage of not requiring further resources for operation, maintenance, supervision, visitor information, publication editing. In this case, however, the direct operational costs of Showcase may be covered by the entrance fees. Not requiring any other expenditures, with this “attraction integrated into an operating business” we have the opportunity to realise a self-reliant model, which has been running successfully operating in the countries with significant tourism.
The exhibition-like arrangement of the material collected thus far is going to be finished soon.
The project - to make the exhibition open to the public – has been granted a central (nation al government and local government) support, and the inauguration took place on April 11. After the finalisation of the technical conditions, now we can start giving out information, and “wrap up the tourism product”.
The local government – civilian – business collaboration is being formed to include the unique cultural assets of Miskolc (the Orthodox Museum, the Synagogue, the Castle of Diósgyőr, the Showcase), into the programme package called
to offer a competitive attraction to tourists. We trust that the carefully prepared displays will be suitable for raising drawing public attention, and therefore, we will successfully draw attention to our real values. Although we have encountered a lack of understanding and some scepticism, we hope that our ambitions will be proven by time because “all dreams can come true – if we are courageous enough to do our best to make them come true.”