The afternoon was sunny and bright. The Galleria sparkled as it welcomed visitors to the Grand Opening of the Hungarian Heritage Museum. Inside the Museum members of the Board and volunteers were busy finishing their tasks preparing for the guests: plating Hungarian savory snacks, lining up champagne bottles, assembling touch screen computers, setting up chairs, attaching a red, white and green ribbon to the door. 3 p.m. was coming up soon.
The new space needed some serious remodeling, along with new library shelves, and some modern electronic equipment to enhance our exhibits. We were able to procure these updates through a generous grant form the Hungary Initiatives Foundation. After months of unpacking boxes, assembling exhibits, arranging window displays, gift items and shelving books, the Museum was ready for her debut on the First Floor of the Galleria in Downtown Cleveland!
As visitors poured into the Galleria space outside the Museum’s doors, we welcomed many old friends and many new friends; guests from Columbus, Ohio, New York City and the D.C. area, and local folks who live in Northeast Ohio . Members of the Board passed out the program and helped people find seats. We listened to words of congratulations from Dr. Imre Szakács, Hungarian Consul of National Cohesion, László Bőjtös, Hungarian Honorary Consul, Otto Friedrich, Co-Founder of the Museum 30 years ago, Valeria Rátoni-Nagy, President of the United Hungarian Societies, David Clark, Manager of the Galleria, Michael Patterson, representing Maragaret Wong, a leader in the Cleveland Immigrant Community, August Pust, well-known representative of the immigrant community in Northeast, Ohio, and Former Senator George V. Voinovich. Emcee Elmer Meszaros then introduced the congratulatory proclamations and letters from Congressman David Joyce, member of the Congressional Hungarian Caucus, Senator Sherrod Brown, Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland City Council and Councilman Joe Cimperman, Acting Bishop of the Calvin Synod Rev. Csaba Krasznai, and on behalf of the Hungarian Government, the Consulate General in New York City. President Éva Szabó and curator Andrew Lázár addressed the guests.
Six scissors and six dignitaries! six snips! and we were open and ready to welcome our visitors! With members of Harmonia playing Hungarian music that all of us know and love so well, our guests streamed into the Museum, went through the Székely Kapu, and filled our new space to capacity!
Our visitors enjoyed good fellowship, an informative exhibit on the 25th anniversary of the Fall of Communism, and many lovely pieces from our permanent collection. They mingled throughout the Museum, browsing the Library and Gift Shop, finding the towns and villages that mean so much to them on maps, tasting champagne, and enjoying the sunshine in the Atrium.
As you can see from the excerpt from the Program handout which is featured below, we were honored with the presence of so many representatives of the Hungarian American community here in Cleveland. We thank them for attending our Opening and thereby lending their support to our our efforts!
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED HUNGARIAN SOCIETIES
American Hungarian Friends of Scouting……………. Bea Tabor
Cleveland Hungarian Cultural Garden………….……. Kori Smith
Cleveland Hungarian Development Panel…Elizabeth Papp-Taylor
First Hungarian Lutheran Church…………………..Ernest Mihaly
Hungarian Association………………………………. Ildiko Peller
Hungarian Cultural Center of NE Ohio…………Mary Jane Molnar
Hungarian Media Foundation……………………………Lorand Csibi
Hungarian School Care Club………………….…Juci Szentkiralyi
West Side Hungarian Lutheran Church………..Rev. Eva Tamassy
World Federation of Hungarian Veterans…………..John Korossy
Sts. Elizabeth & Emeric Parishes….Fr. Andras Antal
MEMBERS OF OUR HONORARY BOARD
Drs. Jenny and Glenn Brown
Joseph Gyorky, President Emeritus, American Hungarian Friends of Scouting
Thanks everyone for coming! A viszontlátásra! Hope to see you again soon at the Museum, the heartbeat of Hungarian culture in Northeast, Ohio!
Congratulations on the Grand Opening of the new home for the beautiful Hungarian Heritage Museum. It was a special joy to see the Hungarian dolls designed and created by our aunt Mary Elsie Sallay on display in the photo “Harmonia’s music greeting our visitors”. She was very happy to know that her work was going to be shared with others in such a beautiful and inspirational setting. Thank you for your dedication to make the mission of the Hungarian Heritage Museum a reality for us all.
Dr. Barbara S. Cinke
Oh my! How wonderful to meet someone who is related to the creator of these beautiful dolls!! Mary Jane Molnar brought them in, and the new space offers so such a wonderful venue for these unique pieces! We hope that you will have the chance to visit the Museum some day.