More than 40 years since its opening, on June 14, 1980, the Amber Museum in Colti, Buzau County, reopened on August 21 this year
More than 40 years since its opening, on June 14, 1980, the Amber Museum in Colti, Buzau County, reopened on August 21 this year. So far, it had over 6,000 visitors. The local amber is between 40 and 60 million years old. This black amber became a symbol for Romania after it was on display at the Paris Universal Exhibition 1867. The only other place in the world where black amber is found is Sakhalin Island, between Russia and Japan.
Visiting the museum, you can admire about 300 beautiful pieces of amber, in shades going from translucent gold to deep black. The crown jewel is the second largest piece of amber in the world, a little under 2 kg. The only larger piece than that is a piece 3.45 kg, which is also in Buzau County, at the main museum. The exhibits in the museum are of a great variety, in the form of jewelry mostly, but you can also see tools to extract amber and work with it, such as lathes, hammers, picks, and more. The museum you can visit now has been rearranged, and has been added exhibits such as mine crystals, as well as fossils found in the area, such as the femur of a woolly mammoth that lived over 2.5 million years ago.
Daniel Costache, manager of the museum, added some detail for us:
“The amber museum in Colti is the only museum in Romania that houses a collection of black amber. When you get here, you may think that all you will see is amber, but in fact we have a number of collections. We have an entire room dedicated to a grotto that was inhabited in the Bronze Age, deep inside a cave. Also, there is another room that dedicated to the grotto inside the cave, a unique monument of pre-history in Romania, which has traces of human habitation from the Bronze Age. There is one other room which houses a small portion of the collection of prehistoric fauna of Buzau's County Museum, including mammoth mandibles and femora. The upper floor of the museum has three separate rooms. One has a unique collection of crystals harvested from mines. Then there is the central room that houses most of the collection of amber, and another room that showcases tools used in harvesting, transporting, and processing amber.”
The museum has been preparing for the pandemic. There are distancing rules, visitors are provided with disinfectants, as well as disposable shoe covers. Daniel Costache, the manager of the museum, also told us that the objects in the museum collection are the result of their own research, as well as donations:
“I have to point out that, as recently as last year, the museum in Colti was housed in a building that had no toilets, no running water, no central heating, and the exhibition was outdated. Nowadays, even though the museum is high in the mountains, it is an ultra-modern museum, worthy of the year 2020, a museum that is uniquely equipped to showcase its exhibits. We have also put up a souvenir shop for the first time. This museum is well worth the 6 km detour from National Road 10, linking Buzau and Brasov.”
Daniel Costache also told us why this museum is unique:
“The amber museum in Colti has several unique aspects. First of all, it is the only amber museum in Romania. We tried to confer it a unique aspect, first of all in terms of how we arranged the exhibition, the first thing that the visitor notices. Then we set up an interactive exhibit case, made up of several elements. It was made to tell it own story, rotating on automated pivots. The visitor can rotate the objects in the case by using a touchscreen, turn them any way they want, and zoom in using a 4K camera. A screen in the background provides information that used to be put on labels. This is a first for Romanian museums. We also have a room that simulates the interior of a cave, that features a 3D LG Live screen, a novelty as well. Bear in mind that we are talking about a museum at the top of a mountain.”