HNHM | Magyar Természettudományi Múzeum, Budapest
The museum dates its origins back to 1802, when the Hungarian National Museum was established by Count Ferenc Széchenyi. In the very same year the first natural history collection that contained selected and valuable minerals from Hungary was donated to the new museum by the wife of Count Széchenyi. A few years later the first paleontological and zoological collection found their way to the museum. During the second half of the 19th century the natural history collections became so large and diverse that a need for making them independent of the National Museum emerged. As a consequence, separate zoological, mineralogical and paleontological, and botanical departments were founded in 1870. Later, the mineralogical and paleontological collection was divided into two departments in 1939. Finally, the anthropological department was born in 1945.
Currently the independent Hungarian Natural History Museum, located in Budapest, consists of five scientific departments: the Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, the Department of Palaeontology and Geology, the Botanical Department, the Department of Zoology, and the Department of Anthropology. The size of the collection treasured in these departments is above 10 million items.
The Department of Anthropology of the Hungarian Natural History Museum is a main basis of Hungarian anthropological research. The core of its collection consists of the skeletal remains of past populations from the territory of the Carpathian Basin from between the Neolithic times and the ~16-17th centuries. With more than 38.000 inventoried specimens belonging to this post-pleistocene era (and with the skeletal remains of around 10.000 more individuals waiting to be taken into inventory) this is among the largest skeletal collections of historical populations in the world. In addition, the Department of Anthropology treasures most of the Pleistocene age human skeletal and dental remains from the territory of Hungary, including the Neanderthal finds of Subalyuk cave. It guards many specimens of the Miocene ape finds (Rudapithecus hungaricus and Anapithecus hernyaki) from the famous site of Rudabánya too. A special part of the collection are the “Vác mummies”, altogether 265 naturally mummified individuals from the 17-18th century city of Vác, Hungary. The collection also contains sculpted facial approximations based on the skulls of historical populations.