The Photo-Documentation Fund

Since its creation, the Photo-Documentation Fund has been an important part of the Museum’s collection. It contains more than 10 000 collection items of photographic nature mapping the Romani culture. The items include black and white and colour cine-films, flat negatives, black and white and colour photographs, slides and digital photographs.

Thematically, the contents of the Fund can be divided into several groups. A large part of the Fund consists of the documentation about the functioning of the Museum as an institution – photo-documentation of exhibitions, exhibition openings, prominent figures or research trips and major events. Photographs of Romany figures, Holocaust survivors or traditional livelihoods are important items for the activities of the Museum. These materials are often used to promote the Museum; they are also used for exhibitions or media.

Historical photographs from the life of the Roma as old as from the late 19th century form an important part of the Fund, although they are not significant in terms of their numbers. Unfortunately, they are mostly only digital copies of original unique photographs. It is very important for us to explore and map the historical axis of the life of the Roma; therefore we also keep the copies of photos and we try to keep track of the occurrence of such materials. If researches are interested in a particular historical theme, we inform them about where they can get the original photo including the license for its use.

The original images include rare photographs from the period of the Roma Holocaust (i.e. the Gypsy camp in Hodonín u Kunštátu). Equally interesting is the large set of flat negatives of photographs from 1950s, documenting the period by presenting the life of the Roma.

Postcards form an important representative part of the fund, we currently have over 800 pieces. We can see both the authentic traditional way of living of the Roma in past, as well as the romanticizing notions of the majority.

The fund also includes original photos of important authors, e.g. Jindřich Štreit or Chad Evans Wyatt.

Historical postcards of the Photo-Documentation Fund were presented e.g. in an extensive publication by Jana Horváthová: Devleskere čhave. Testimony of old postcards (Region Poprad, 2006).

In 2014, the curator of this fund prepared a solo exhibition of historical postcards entitled “The Gypsy Myth”.

Fund curator: MgA Lenka Grossmannová

Contact: foto@rommuz.cz