|About the museum:
The Department for the Protection of Cultural Assets is responsible for the material and intangible cultural heritage of Brijuni National Park. The museum holdings contain more than 30,000 items divided into twenty archaeological, artistic, cultural, historical, and natural history collections. The permanent display consists of five exhibition units presented in three historic buildings located in the centre of the island.
A smaller number of finds from the archaeological sites of Brijuni (pottery, tools, weapons, jewellery, building fragments) are on display in the 16th century Venetian villa (Kaštel). The Prehistoric period is represented by finds of pottery, bone and flint from a semi-dugout village in Javorika Bay (Neolithic and Copper Age) and a Bronze Age settlement on Gradina Hill. The splendour of ancient times is illustrated by the pottery, glassware, metal ware, and stoneware from the luxurious early imperial residential villa in Verige Bay. Late Antiquity is represented by finds from the richest (in terms of its strata) sites in Brijuni - the so-called castrum (1st century BC-15/16th century AD), while the mediaeval period is shown through parts of stone furnishings from the churches of St. Mary and St. Peter.
Since 1958, copies of frescoes and Glagolitic inscriptions from Istria and Kvarner have been exhibited in the Church of St. German (1481), introducing visitors to fresco painting and the Glagolitic script, which are typical features of the mediaeval cultural heritage of the area. A Roman black-and-white mosaic, originating from the dining room of the villa in Verige Bay, was built into the floor of the church during its renovation in 1911. Stone fragments from Brijuni’s history (1st - 18th centuries) were built into the atrium of the sacristy, which was added to the church in 1912.
The steam baths building (1912) of the old hotel complex houses three exhibitions.
The exhibition From the Memories of the Old Austrian is dedicated to Paul Kupelwieser (1843-1919), an Austrian industrialist who in 1893 bought the malaria-ridden Brijuni Islands and transformed them into an oasis of natural beauty and a tourist resort. Descriptions by Kupelwieser, along with photographs, postcards and printed material present the transformation of the islands into a confluence of European and global elites. A noteworthy item among the exhibits is the microscope that belonged to Dr. Robert Koch. After Koch’s stay on the island in 1900/1901, and following a process of sanitation, the island became a health resort.
An exhibition of photographs under the title Josip Broz Tito on the Brijuni Islands was set up in 1984, when the National Park was opened for visitors. The exhibition presents the activities of the Yugoslav President between 1947 and 1980, when many people in the political and public life of the country (and the world) visited the islands. A series of flags indicates 60 countries whose presidents, 90 of them altogether, visited Brijuni.
The Natural History Collection consists of a large number of mounted animals President Tito received from visiting heads of state; some of which represent Brijuni fauna. Some animals that were brought to the Brijuni safari park, along with the young that were born on Brijuni, were stuffed after they had died. This is how the Zoological Collection gradually developed. Almost 200 taxidermic exhibits are displayed in 19 dioramas, of which seven represent African fauna, while four Asian, one Australian, and one South American make up the other regional collections. The rest of the dioramas present European fauna, with a special emphasis on the fauna of the Brijuni Islands.
The church of St. Roch (1504) organises smaller exhibitions in the summer months.
In addition to exhibition space, there are numerous sites, monuments, and buildings of archaeological, artistic, architectural, historical and cultural value on the island.
In the archaeological park visitors can see the sites where the items displayed in the Venetian villa originate. In addition to the imposing Roman villa rustica in Verige Bay (1st century BC - 6th century), which was linked to a number of facilities by promenades extending 1 km along the bay (the residential section of the villa and its economic parts, temples, the palestra, the baths, and a fishpond), there is also a castrum (1st century BC – 15/16th century), which is a settlement somewhat larger than 1 ha in surface area, enclosed by impressive fortifications. The nearby basilica of St. Mary’s (6th – 18th century AD) was built to serve the inhabitants of the castrum. St. Peter’s Church can also be seen here, as well as the Prehistoric citadel that was fortified by dry-wall ramparts and featured a maze-like entrance to the settlement and a necropolis.
Sculptures by F. Kršinić, D. Džamonja, B. Kalina, and C. Clemens Zumbusch, and Art Nouveau reliefs by J. Engelhart are embedded in the landscape of the island.
There are numerous cultural and historical sites (the viewing point on Ciprovac, the Kupelwieser family mausoleum, quarries converted into walking paths), including the Austro-Hungarian fortifications (the Giaconne battery, with positions for four guns in varying states of preservation).
Brijuni Cretaceous Park has more than two hundred dinosaur footprints spread over four sites on Veli Brijun (Cape Vrbanj, Cape Ploče) and the islands of Vanga and Galija. A sculpture of a dinosaur was erected on Cape Vrbanj in 2011. The sculpture represents a reconstruction based on the best-preserved dinosaur footprints left on the coast some 130-125 million years ago.
There are about a dozen Austro-Hungarian fortifications built at the turn of the 20th century on Mali Brijun. Among them, Fort Brioni Minor and a torpedo-launching battery located on the shore are of particular note. Fort Brioni Minor is the largest Austro-Hungarian fortification in the defensive system of the Pula coastal fortress and has very well preserved instruments and weapons (two 150 mm howitzers made by Škoda).