We were born and raised in the 80's. We queued for milk and made up games around the house when the power went out. Our parents protected us, so we did not understand much of the tragic end of the Romanian Socialist Republic, although we sensed that things are not exactly OK. 30 years after the revolution, Romania remains the only country in Eastern Europe that does not have a museum of recent history to tell the story of everyday life during the communist period.
There are, of course (and are multiplying) small initiatives for archiving and preserving memory, from the Sighet Memorial to small museums in blocks of flats. But we want to tell our story - subjectively assumed - of the way we remember life under communism. We do it so that we can take our children there, let them explore, get their hands on objects and discover for themselves what they would have lived like if they had been born at the end of the Cold War. Without presenting just the horrors of communism, without highlighting political philosophy or history, without being too nostalgic. We recreate an apartment typical of the 80's, but behind the apparent banality are hidden many hooks that can open conversations at home, in the family, about "how it was".
We want a mini-Wikipedia of life in communism, in Romania; a one stop shop for everything related to communism. There are many resources (books, photos, videos, audio) that a curious young person could explore, but they are scattered all over the internet, through libraries. We want to bring them together on this site, and then go deeper. At the same time, we also produce our own content, such as interviews and then&now series. Our ambition is to cover every county in the country, so that at least every county seat will have its own page on the site, where young people can start to discover recent history with local flavour.
Financing and calendar
In 2019, „Museum of daily life in communism – the personal histories of Romanian migrants to the United States of America” was a project funded by the U.S. State Department through a $9,000 IVLP Alumni Grant. It aimed to collect 30 testimonies of those who lived during the communist period, covering various areas of daily life at that time. Among these testimonies are those of some Romanians who managed to emigrate to the West before 1989.
In 2020, the project continued through "The 80east Caravan" with a total budget of 65.000 RON, co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund which consisted of a countrywide tour, with over 10 cities where we would do exhibitions, screenings and discussions. Unfortunately, it was moved online due to the pandemic. Thanks to the partners who supported us: Asociația București, Forum Apulum, Centrul Cultural Expo Arte and H3
We are open to suggestions and collaborations of any kind. If you have a story from the communist era or you know someone who lived something worth telling in the "golden age", please write to us.
Contact: Cosmin Pojoranu echipa [at] muzeulcomunismului [dot] ro