The museum was founded to celebrate 100 years since the opening of the first Belle Arte School in Bucharest (1864), a prestigious educational establishment and important cultural, educational and promotional center.
It started working under the name of the "Didactic and Scientific Museum" in May 1972 under decision 51807 on the 5th of May 1972, with the approval of the Ministry of Education. At present, its official name is the "Museum of the National University of Arts in Bucharest" and it operates under the Rector Catalin Balescu's Ph.D. direct management and supervision. Starting with 2005, as a consequence of museographer Nadia Ioan Ficiu's initiative, the patrimony has been reorganized in collections according to modern, competitive criteria, thus reintegrating in the cultural circuit a major art patrimony.
Operating in conformity with advanced methodological criteria of historiography and art research, being organized chronologically and progressively, the university's art museum has also become an exhibition area for artistic potential and existing plastic values, for works by professors who, throughout the times, have been masters, supervisors, mentors of whole generations of artists.
In its actual stage of development, the museum preserves its collections in four warehouses organized by departments - painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass, metal, a.s.o. This criterion of organization allows first of all for controlling the climate in a relatively small space, for maintaining an appropriate micro-climate for each set of works and also for a correct display of items of different types and sizes.
An important series of works in the patrimony have been presented and viewed due to their exhibition within the premises of the university (in General Budisteanu 19, General Budisteanu 10, Calea Grivitei 22, Calea Grivitei 28): the Rector's office, other faculty and departments offices, course rooms, studios, halls, lobbies. The works which permit an outdoors exhibition are displayed in the courtyards.
The works in the fields of painting, graphic arts, sculpture, ceramics, glass, metal are fairly well preserved. Their condition is detailed in the registries and in the conservation files. The Museum Department collaborates with the University's Conservation Department for works which may represent health hazards.
The patrimony of the university's museum consists of over 3000 registered works, including major donations by the professors.
- THE KALINDERU AND THE OLD FUND OF THE BELLE ARTE SCHOOL (Raffaello Romanelli, Antonio Frilli, Emilio Santarelli, Ferdinando Vichi; Alfred Boucher, Clodion; Carol Storck, Karl Storck, Ion Georgescu, Constantin Balacescu; Louis Pierre Henriquel Dupon; Marino Fortuny; George Demetrescu Mirea, Alexandru Romano, Alexandru Banulescu, a.o.)
- THE DONATIONS COLLECTION (Ioanid, Radu Dimiu - Menelas Simonide, Mihai Dimiu - Dimitrie Serafim, Simion Iuca, Dimitrie Cosmescu, Elga Mayer, Anca Ghiuritan - Titu Dan Elian, Vlad Aurel, Octav Gheorghe Bancila, Elena Mac Constantinescu, Donatia Rada Horia Teodoru, Donatia Vladimir Zamfirescu, Dorina Schobel, Catalin Balescu, a.o.).
- THE I.P.1975 COLLECTION (Dumitru Ghiata, Oscar Han, Mariano Fortuny, Marcel Chirnoaga, Bradut Covaliu, Simona Vasiliu Chintila, Corina Beiu Angheluta, Gheorghe Ivancenco, Puia Masichievici, Vasile Dobrian, Mariana Petrascu).
- THE PROFESSORS COLLECTION (Vasile Grigore, Marius Cilievici, Florin Mitroi, Ion Bitzan, Marin Gherasim, Vasile Kazar, Ion Salisteanu, Ion Stendl, Gheorghe Ivancenco, Traian Bradean, Geta Caragiu, Paul Vasilescu, Gheorghe Ghitescu, Alexi Florian, Gheorghe Saru, Zamfir Dumitrescu, Constantin Blendea, Costel Badea, Vladimir Predescu, Mihai Alexandru, Alexandru Cumpata, Vasile Celmare, Nicolae Groza, a.o.)
- THE STUDENTS COLLECTION (Vladimir Zamfirescu, Sorin Dumitrescu, Harry Mavrodin, Mihai Cizmaru, Zamfir Dumitrescu, Nicolae Groza, Mircea Ciobanu, Geta Bratescu, Neculai Hilohi, Nicolae Alexi, Harry Guttman, Gheorghe Adoc, Maria Malita, Klara Kelemen, Mihai Sarbulescu, Petru Lucaci, Ciprian Paleologu, Dorin Coltofeanu, Daniela Codita, Oscar Naters Burger, Davis Richard, Camelia Rusu Sadovei, Virgil Mancas, Dimitrie Gavrilean, Aurel Bulacu, Dan Erceanu, Tudor Jebeleanu, Dana Schobel, Alexandru Cumpata, Dan Stanciu, Mircea Tohatan, Anca Simona Boieriu, Mora Leon, Eugen Alexandru Gustea, a.o.)
- THE CERAMICS COLLECTION (Petre Dancila, Virginia Cadar, Ovidiu Ionescu, Ion Grancea, Cristian Ostrovski, Ladislau Suteu, Gheorghe Rizoiu, a.o.)
- THE GLASS COLLECTION (Mendumen Kemaloglu, Cristina Iliescu, Lucian Butucariu, Catalin Hrimiuc, Anca Seftov, Cristina Dutulescu,a.o.)
- THE METAL COLLECTION (Roland Negoita, Virgil Mihaescu, Valter Paraschivescu, Coada Stefanescu, Mihai Falcoianu, Augustin Lucici, a.o.)
- THE CONTEMPORARY ART COLLECTION (Sorin Ilfoveanu, Mircea Spataru, Sorin Dumitrescu, Marin Gherasim, Mihai Manescu, Vasile Gorduz, Stela Lie, Aurel Vlad, Catalin Balescu, Ion Grigore, Marilena Preda Sanc, Petru Lucaci, Cezar Atodiresei, George Moscal, Marcel Bunea, Florin Ciubotaru, Horea Pastina, Anca Simona Boeriu, Elena Dumitrescu, Ciprian Paleologu, Mihai Ionut Rusen, Darie Dup, Adrian Ilfoveanu, Adrian Pirvu, Florin Stoiciu, Nicolae Paduraru, Alexandru Radvan, Vasile Gorduz, Nadia Ioan, Peter Jacobi, a.o.)
Objectives for promoting the collections
- The museum has become a space of collaboration between professors and students. The courses of art history, conservation, restoration, the courses of presentation of old and new techniques, the Master's or doctorate projects are elaborated in connection with the museum's patrimony.
- By organizing within the university's gallery temporary exhibitions which display works from the museums' patrimony or from itinerary exhibitions hosted by other universities, museums, galleries in the country and from abroad, the professors' artistic activity becomes well known and we can thus confirm the prestige of the National University of Arts.
- The museum's patrimony represents a source of study and inspiration for our young students and we organize joint projects with the specialized departments or contemporary art exhibitions which make use of works in our collections. The students who receive awards from the university participate through donations together with their professors in adding to the art patrimony of this museum.
- The museum popularizes the collections and completes the information about its own works, also identifying new means of organization by collaborating with other institutions in the country and from abroad (The Romanian National Art Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of the University of Visual Arts and Design in Cluj, Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris, the Art Museum of the Art University in Vienna, a.o.)
- The artworks in the museum's patrimony are symbols and results of interpersonal communication - between artists, professors, students. In this way, the need to preserve and maintain the symbolic and expressive values of artworks becomes our museum's reason to be.
- The discipline of conservation plays an important role in gathering over time data about the theoretical and practical development of the University of Arts. Losing the opportunity of knowing our university's past means losing a part of our artistic identity. The "documents", in our case the works of art, are essential in the study of the development of ideas, techniques and creativity, in general.