History of the Typhlological Museum

The idea to found the Museum was inspired by the teacher Vinko Bek, a typhlo-pedagogue and a great fighter for the rights of blind people. He was also the founder of the National Institute for the Education of Blind Children and the editor of first typhlological journals. In 1888 he started collecting items for his private collection which he named "Croatian Blind Museum".

Although, on several occasions, he managed to display to the general public the items he collected, he never succeeded in establishing the museum he had laid the bases for. The items were first exposed in 1891 as a part of "Blind Department" at Memorial Exhibition of Croatian-Slavonian Economic Organization in Zagreb and again in 1896 at Millennial Exhibition in Budapest. The catalogue of the first exhibition contains very useful information regarding all the items exposed, a part of which is still in the property of the Museum.

The items were first stored and conserved in Bukjevo near Velika Gorica, in a public school where Bek worked as a teacher. After the opening of the Institute for the Blind in 1895 – where Bek worked as a director for several years, the items were all transported there. After he left, some items remained in the Institute while others were stored on Bek’s private properties. While the Institute was moving to a new location, most of the items were lost, while all the remaining items were donated to the future Museum. A great number of items from Bek’s heritage were donated to the Museum by his daughter Marta Bek and his granddaughter Bosiljka Durst Živković with whom the Museum has had a successful cooperation until this day.

The Typhlological Museum was opened in 1953 in Zagreb, in 36, Bosanska Street and gave its first exhibition in 1956 on this address. Great part of merit for its opening goes to Franjo Tonković, P.h.D professor and his wife Danica Tonković.

The second permanent exhibition was opened in 1959, after moving to the new building, at the time owned by the Association of the Blind of Yugoslavia, located in Draškovićeva Street where the Museum has been situated to this day.
The third permanent exhibition was opened to the public in 1976, and the fourth is under preparation. It is expected to be opened for the public by the end of 2007.