The city of Constanta, a touristic city, offers its Romanian or foreign visitors, through the Folk Art Museum, an overview of the spirituality of the Romanian people, as a place of synthesis of popular artistic creation.
The ethnographic museum, through its structures, shows the unity of the folk culture from Dobruja with the culture from the other Romanian regions. This unity is given by the fact that these regions share the same origins and by the fact that throughout the time they have kept in touch, by means of time and space, with Romanians from all the ethnographic regions of the country.
The museum's collections were built through patrimony acquisitions, made systematically, following a well-structured plan in terms of documentation, art and region. Currently these collections gather a patrimony of national heritage which has more than 16, 000 pieces.
The basic permanent exhibition of the museum is organised following the genres of folk creation (ceramics, wood, metal, textiles, rugs, folk costumes, finery, wooden and glass icons etc.) and the differences of each one of them in all ethnographic regions, taking notice of various scientific criteria for the documentation, art and uniqueness.
At the ground floor of the Folk Art Museum are displayed glass icons from the most famous, both rural and urban, workshops from Transylvania (Nicula Gherla, ?cheii Bra?ovului, Maierii Albei Iulii, the borders of Sibiu, F?g?ra?) dating from the 18th – 19th centuries. The iconographic themes include representations of: the Christological cycle - the Birth, the Baptism, the Weeping, the Resurrection, the cycle of the Holly Mary (the Assumption of Mary, the Coronation of the Virgin, the Mother of Sorrows) and the patronymic saints. Also, there are exhibited icons painted on wood with tempera, which are valued as exceptional patrimony values or as special values. In terms of a timeframe, the wooden icons collection can be placed in the 17th – 18th – 19th centuries and in terms of stylistics, it can be framed in the late medieval Romanian, Russian (among which are also placed the specific Russian – Lipovan workshops) or Greek (which have influenced some of the Balkan Romanian workshops) schools.
he museum has a rich pottery collection, which shows the morphological unity of the main types of pottery vessels: everyday use vessels, decorative vessels or ceremonial vessels. The pieces which are exhibited are pieces with steadfast role in the decorative system of the peasant interiors.
The ceramics from the exhibitions date from the second half of the 18th century, offering an image of the specific types of tile made in the workshops from Bistri?a, ceramics decorated with vegetal sgraffited and painted decors from the 19th century (from Maramures), Kuty vessels (from Suceava), made using the old Byzantine technique, Transylvanian ceramic from the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, Vama-Oas, Fagaras, Brasov, Sibiu, Bistrita, Zalau and Turda.
The end of the 19th century is represented by the ceramics from Horezu, Vladesti (Vâlcea), Oboga (Olt), Curtea de Arge?.
The art of woodwork is shown in a particular area. There can be admired tools and utensils used in the domestic and textile industries, pastoral objects, accessories related to the wedding ceremony (wedding hatchets or governor sticks), objects related to the cult of the dead and the funeral rites (religious seals and hand crosses), all of them bearing the signs of the creative peasant who felt the need to ennoble them by means of decoration.
The artistic processing of the metals is emphasized through a group of household containers made from hammered bronze – specific for the region of Dobruja and the southern part of Romania, from tin and copper.
The great hall from the first floor of the building has been reserved for the large woven wool rugs, many of them dating from 1849 – 1862, decorated in their centre with the tree of life motif and dyed using herbs. These rugs are specific for the northern part of Moldavia.
The fabrics used for interior decoration include: specific woven wool rugs used for benches and floors from Moldavia, fabrics made from cotton and silk (from Dobruja), rugs with rhomboid motifs (from Muntenia), rugs with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs (from Oltenia) or rugs made using the Karamani technique (from Banat) etc.
Four of the rooms from the first floor of the building are dedicated to the celebratory folk costumes specific for each area. Here can be distinguished the three female costumes, two pieces which cover the body from the waist down:
-the costume with two straight aprons worn over a white chemise in almost all of Transylvania, Oltenia, Muntenia, Dobruja, Banat (fringed apron)
-the costume with wrap round skirt specific for the entire region of Moldavia, the northern parts of Muntenia and the south-east of Transylvania
-the costume with pleated or gathered apron specific for Oltenia
The male costume, present in the exhibition, is characterised by a unitary structure, observed around the entire territory of the country.
The temporary exhibitions organised monthly, on a specific theme, bring to the visitors attention, outstanding patrimony values, which are being stored in the museum storage rooms.
Also, at the selling booth can be purchased objects made by craftsmen from all over the country.
In addition, it has to be mentioned that the museum is held by a building with great archaeological value. The edifice was built in the last decade of the 19th century and it was intended to be used as headquarters for the old Municipal Palace. The original exterior decoration and the painted ceiling from one of the meeting rooms, located at the first floor, are being kept unaffected.