THE MUSEUM OF BEĆARAC INTERPRETATION CENTER IN PLETERNICA

The intangible heritage exists as long as people live it and pass it on from generation to generation.  

Fade In video recording for the interactive exhibition Pokladno jahanje, Photo by Vanja Babic
Fade In video recording for the interactive exhibition Pokladno jahanje, Photo by Vanja Babic

The fact that bećarac was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011 speaks volumes of the importance of this traditional vocal-instrumental song. This encouraged the project holder, the Town of Pleternica, to take a visionary approach to protect the Museum of Bećarac and provide all the prerequisites for the professional and creative contribution of many actors who have participated in the realization of their vision.

Fade In video recording for the interactive exhibition Wedding preparations, KUD Luka Ilic Oriovcanin, Oriovac, Photo Inia Herencic
Fade In video recording for the interactive exhibition Wedding preparations, KUD Luka Ilic Oriovcanin, Oriovac, Photo Inia Herencic

The Museum of Bećarac is located in one of the few buildings in Croatia explicitly designed for a museum exhibition, authored by the architecture studio Rusan arhitektura. It conveys the experience of bećarac through encounters with its representatives – Šokci and Šokice. 

Visualization of the permanent exhibition, ljelje, Autor Muze, Clinica studio, Sesnic and Turkovic
Visualization of the permanent exhibition, ‘ljelje’, Autor Muze, Clinica studio, Sesnic and Turkovic

Muze / Muses —an all-female collective of experts in museology, heritage interpretation, and cultural tourism—have used extensive museological documentation to set the main topics and media. The engagement of Muze / Muses / Muses in the Museum of Bećarac project spanned eight years, including the design of management plans.

Mirna Drazenovic and Mateja Kuka Brkic on field research of objects for the permanent exhibition of the Vienna Museum, Photo by Vanja Babic
Mirna Drazenovic and Mateja Kuka Brkic on field research of objects for the permanent exhibition of the Vienna Museum, Photo by Vanja Babic

Through the permanent exhibition, we strive to convey the love for the bećarac and its tradition to all visitors. At the same time, we invite them to a fun exploration of their traditions, heritage identities, and the environments they come from. The intimate stories of bećars and bećarušas in the permanent exhibition reveal to the visitors their personal stories about bećarac and Šokadija, and the interactive exhibits offer everyone the opportunity to connect with the rich content of the exhibition in their way. Thus, visitors can experience real bećarac sing-offs, cheer them on, or witness a unique duel between bećar Pavo and the famous Slavonian rapper Kandžija.

Pavao Pavo Kobas (bachelor) at the Restart video recording for the interactive exhibition The Duel of a Bachelor and a Rapper, Photo by Inia Herencic
Pavao Pavo Kobas (bachelor) at the Restart video recording for the interactive exhibition The Duel of a Bachelor and a Rapper, Photo by Inia Herencic

There is a singing studio where they can sing bećarac songs, test their knowledge by taking some of many interactive quizzes or communicate with a bećaruša robot, which challenges visitors to test the creative power of artificial intelligence. Another special experience is exploring the Bećarac Hall of Fame, which includes Vera Svoboda, Marija Pavković – Snaša, Krunoslav Kićo Slabinac, Šima Jovanovac, Zlatko Bourek, and the most famous literary and film bećar – Đuka Begović. The Museum of Bećarac’s contribution to the scientific and professional community is the basis for the long-term preservation of the authenticity of bećarac’s heritage and Slavonian customs through synergistic action and partnerships,” pointed out Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, the director of Muze / Muses.

Field collection of objects for the permanent exhibition of the Vienna Museum, family photos by Kate Corak, Photo by Vanja Babic
Field collection of objects for the permanent exhibition of the Vienna Museum, family photos by Kate Corak, Photo by Vanja Babic

The process of developing the content included intensive collaboration with numerous restorers. Over 200 items collected from all parts of Šokadija, even from Hungary, have been restored and expertly prepared for display. Close collaboration was achieved with more than 20 cultural and artistic societies and numerous prominent individuals from local communities.

Installation of the museum's permanent exhibition, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic
Installation of the museum’s permanent exhibition, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic

When it comes to cooperation with the local bearers of the heritage of bećarac, the contribution of our professional associate Marija Gačić, an excellent ethnologist and a passionate bećaruša dedicated to preserving the heart of Šokadija, was crucial. National institutions also contributed to the permanent museum exhibition by donating various video and audio materials. The content production included collecting and translating over 400 bećarac songs into English, producing 50 video recordings, making over 200 illustrations and photographs, and collecting 200 original museum exhibits in just a few months. 

Mateja Kuka Brkic, Iva Klaric Vujovic, Dragana Lucija Ratkovic Aydemir, Mirna Drazenovic, Meri Vesanovic, Lucija Bilicic (s lijeva na desno), Foto Inia Herencic
Mateja Kuka Brkic, Iva Klaric Vujovic, Dragana Lucija Ratkovic Aydemir, Mirna Drazenovic, Meri Vesanovic, Lucija Bilicic (s lijeva na desno), Foto Inia Herencic

The Museum of Bećarac is the path to the heart of Slavonia. Its exhibitions and programs will introduce you to and help you experience the people and customs that will inspire you permanently.

Installation of an artistic sculpture of a horse with a rider, academic sculptors Janko Petrovic and Mirna Drazenovic, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic
Installation of an artistic sculpture of a horse with a rider, academic sculptors Janko Petrovic and Mirna Drazenovic, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic

Installation of the museum's permanent exhibition, Meri Vesanovic and Mirna Drazenovic, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic
Installation of the museum’s permanent exhibition, Meri Vesanovic and Mirna Drazenovic, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic

Installation of the museum's permanent exhibition, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic
Installation of the museum’s permanent exhibition, Photo by Matej Kuka Brkic

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