Municipality of Novi Bečej, heir of the Faro Convention

In the spirit of shared heritage: Exploration and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Municipality of Novi Bečej alongside the significance of European heritage. This section represents a thorough analysis of the cultural treasures that adorn our municipality, while emphasizing its connection to the broader European context. Discover the rich tradition, architectural beauty, and cultural events that shape the identity of our community as we explore how heritage and innovation can together enrich our future. Through diverse texts, we delve into not only the wealth of heritage surrounding us but also the ways in which we preserve, revitalize, and share it with the world, bridging the past, present, and future.

Museum Exhibitions in the Municipality of Novi Bečej
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Museum Exhibitions in the Municipality of Novi Bečej - a Symbiosis of Private Initiatives and Local Government

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Municipality of Novi Bečej managed to establish three exhibition spaces with museum collections and thematic displays. All three collections are alive, receiving thousands of visitors, continuously enriched with exhibits, and possess all the characteristics of museums. However, the collections are not registered, they are managed by individuals without museum education, but with the passion of amateur curators, caretakers, and guides who volunteer out of great love.

All three museum exhibitions were established in different ways, located in buildings that have been completely renovated and represent a combination of private and public-private partnerships. This unusual structure has been successfully maintained for over a decade and could serve as a model for establishing similar exhibitions. The role of relevant museum institutions could be supportive, without implementing the branch model, which has not proven to be a successful solution in practice.

The museum exhibitions "Glavaševa kuća" in Novi Bečej and the Local Museum "Kotarka" in Novo Miloševo were established with the support of the Municipality of Novi Bečej and the Local Community of Novo Miloševo. The support of the local government was reflected in providing material, logistical, and promotional activities, which, along with the initiative of individuals, and later on, civic associations, led to the creation of recognizable tourist destinations. The "Žeravica" Museum was born out of the Žeravica family's love for agricultural machinery, primarily tractors, with the collection of various items surpassing 50,000 exhibits. In terms of collection value, the "Žeravica" museum ranks among the most valuable collections in this part of Europe. In recent years, the local government has been trying to draw public attention to this exceptional collection through various promotional activities.

The Local Museum "Kotarka" - Novo Miloševo

The Local Museum "Kotarka" in Novo Miloševo is located in a building belonging to the ambient complex of the castle of the Count Karačonji family. Bogdan Karačonji bought the Beodra estate (now part of Novo Miloševo) from the Viennese court in 1781 for 105,000 forints. Already in 1805, Beodra gained the status of a town, and intensive construction works were initiated. During the 19th century, over 50 buildings were erected on the estate, among which the most valuable were two magnificent neoclassical castles (the older one built in 1811 remains preserved to this day), a mausoleum church built in 1841, and a large grain warehouse with economic buildings from 1834. Among the economic buildings, the "kotarka" stands out - a building for storing corn, which, after partial conversion at the end of the 19th century, retained its authentic appearance. Neoclassical elements and numerous Doric columns entirely follow the stylistic features of the complex and make the building unique.

The first attempts to establish a museum in Novo Miloševo are associated with the Bauer trading family. Đorđe and his son Akoš had a penchant for collecting antiques. In addition to stylish furniture, they also collected items related to Novo Miloševo and its surroundings. They were particularly interested in castles, which they photographed with a camera purchased in 1926. After the plundering of the Karačonji castles and estates, the Bauers acquired valuable items taken by individuals participating in the looting. In addition to the house of Dr. Đorđe Joanović, which was decorated in the style of Viennese salons, the Bauer house was also full of antiques. According to the testimony of his daughter Ilonka, Akoš Bauer often mentioned the idea that Novo Miloševo should have a museum. However, only the fighters from the Second World War collected items and photographs related to the participants of the National Liberation War, and a modest exhibition was set up in the Youth Center. The exhibition was moved to the Pensioners' Home, where it was housed until 2014.

Thoughts about providing adequate space for the establishment of the Local Museum began in the early 1990s. The space was found above the entrance to the cinema hall, on the first floor of the Cooperative Hall, where the Cultural Center was located. The large hall with impressive height and several large windows was an ideal place for the exhibition. Of course, it needed to be arranged and equipped, and display cases and pedestals needed to be provided. The preliminary consent of the Local Community was obtained, and preparations began. Unfortunately, after some time, a large fire occurred in which almost the entire Cooperative Hall burned down, along with the allocated hall on the first floor!

The realization of the idea to transform the "kotarka" into the Local Museum began finally in 1994, and the necessary technical documentation was prepared by the Provincial Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Petrovaradin. The beginning of the collection originated from items donated to the village after the realization of the event "Days of Miloševo in Novi Sad", held in 1995. Since then, intensive collection of exhibits for the future local collection has begun, which currently contains over 4,500 exhibits donated by the selfless generosity of the locals.

Work on the reconstruction of the building itself began in 2001 and continues continuously to this day. In the front, masonry part of the "kotarka", there are three exhibition halls, a restroom, and an office - storage.

In the first hall, the following are presented: the history of the urban and architectural development of Novo Miloševo, the Karačonji noble family, three church parishes (two parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church and one of the Roman Catholic Church), trades, crafts, as well as exhibits related to the Firefighting Society founded in 1889, and a children's corner is arranged. This section also includes documents related to the life and work of two of the most famous Miloševo residents: Dr. Đorđe Joanović (1871-1932), one of the founders and first regular professor of the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, and Teodor Pavlović (1804-1854), a journalist and secretary of Matica Srpska in Pest (1837).

The second room is dedicated to the presentation of textile handicrafts and household items. Rugs (19th-20th century), towels, parts of traditional costumes, gold embroidery, parts of bridal dowry - "štafira", looms, spinning wheels, cotton spinning equipment, embroidery and "trukovanje" tools, kitchen utensils, and more, form a comprehensive thematic unit.

The third room showcases the guest - front room with a bed, bench, table and chairs, wardrobe and entryway, blankets, and rugs, as well as other interesting details that complete and depict the life of a "gazda" family from the late 19th century.

The other part of the "kotarka", consisting of an authentic wooden structure, was reconstructed in 2011 and is entirely dedicated to agriculture.

Wooden "long" carts, dishes, a summer kitchen with all the food preparation items, sledges, as well as small agricultural tools are located in the central part of the building. Agricultural machinery and tools - carts, grain sifters, scales, plows, wine barrels, grain spraying machines, flour chests, funeral carts... along with numerous photographs, depict the development of agriculture during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Several tombstones are placed in front of the building, which form the beginning of a future lapidarium.

After the "kotarka", which houses a part of the exhibition of the Local Museum in Novo Miloševo, the reconstruction and restoration of the Great Grain Warehouse were initiated.

The first step was the reconstruction of the roof (2012-2013). The funds were provided by the Ministry of Culture and Information, as well as for the next phase of remediation and adaptation of the ground floor, which was carried out in 2015 according to the project and under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from Zrenjanin. Complete plastering and painting of the walls, installation of electrical installations with complete lighting, replacement of the floor, production of new carpentry, restoration of metal doors on the street and courtyard side were completed. Extensive work was completed so that the "Night of Museums" in 2015 was held in the renovated ground floor. Part of the ground floor is equipped with furniture - chairs and armchairs, which the audience can use during various programs and events.

The Institute for Culture of Vojvodina conducted a twelve-month research project in 2014 entitled "New Creative Spaces of Europe".

On that occasion, 47 buildings that were unused but could be put into cultural and developmental use sustainably were examined in 17 municipalities and cities (including Novo Miloševo with its monument heritage). In fierce competition, among the buildings in Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Pančevo, Kikinda, Senta, the Grain Warehouse in Novo Miloševo, along with the Wine Cellars in Crvenka and the Fire Department in Senta, was declared a building worth investing in with great multipurpose potential. These three buildings were singled out for their unique stylistic, functional, ambient, and ownership characteristics, with work on the Grain Warehouse being carried out continuously for several years. Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done on the building, but where there is a will, there is a way to finish them.

It is especially significant that all items in the collection were donated and that many villagers still bring items today. It has become almost common practice that after cleaning attics, storage rooms, basements, all surplus preserved items that are no longer used are offered to the Local Museum, free of charge. In addition to the villagers, former residents of Novo Miloševo also bring items related to the village and homeland. The arrangement of exhibitions in both buildings was also done by the villagers, with the help of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from Zrenjanin.

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