Museums in Croatia: Frogs, Illusions, Broken Relationships

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A look at museums in Croatia. Did you know Zagreb has more museums per capita than anywhere, or that Croatia has its own Museum Night?

Introduction to Museums in Croatia

More people visited Croatia’s museums in 2017 than live in the country. According to the Ministry of Culture, some 4,662,111 people visited the 160 officially recognised museums in Croatia. There are actually more museums than this, but this is the official number in the official Museum Registry. 

Croatia’s distinguished museum history dates back to the 16th century and the first private collections. These were initially mostly centred on the coast, moving inland later. 

The first Lapidarium was created in Split in 1510, and it was followed by exhibitions of old coins and natural rarities. In 1750, a small archaeological museum opened in a private house in Zadar, before which a small private museum was constructed before burning down in 1706. 

The Archaeological Museum in Split opened in 1818, and it is regarded as the first proper museum in Croatia. The People’s Museum in Zagreb was established by the parliament in 1836, but the authorities in Vienna only approved the decision 30 years later.

In 1834, first excavations began in Solin, which marked the beginning of systematic collection and protection of cultural monuments in Croatia.

Croatia’s museum has grown considerably, from commemorating the tragedy of war and the country’s rich heritage and history, to the more bizarre cultural offerings. Among my favourites is Froggyland in Split, a collection of stuffed frogs from a century ago in human life situations. And of course, the two stars of the modern Croatian museum scene – the Museums of Broken Relationships and Illusions. 

Learn more about some of the unique museums in Croatia.

The situation took a nasty turn for the Croatian museums as well in 2020, but most of them have survived and will wait for us once we’re again allowed to go out to places like that. Even during the lockdown, the museums are open for a much smaller number of visitors, so there’s no excuse for anyone!

Museums in Croatia Exporting to the World

Two of Croatia’s most successful and unique museum concepts are starting to go global. 

Is it time you took out a franchise for the Museum of Illusions where you are?

And if you are in the market for one Croatian museum franchise, why not another? The Zagreb museum which has attracted the most column inches since it opened, the Museum of Broken Relationships, is also going international, opening its first international franchise in Los Angeles in 2016.

10 Most Popular Museums in Croatia (Visitors)

Which are the most popular museums in Croatia in terms of visitors? Official statistics for 2017 has the top ten (the list has not changed much since!):

1. Archaeological Museum of Istria (including Pula Arena), Pula

2. Split Town a Museum (including Palace Basements), Split

3. Klovićevi Dvori Gallery, Zagreb

4. Dubrovnik Museums, Dubrovnik

5. Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb

6. Archaeological Museum, Zadar

7. Vučedol Culture Museum, Vukovar

8. Vukovar Hospital 1991 Memorial Site, Vukovar

9. History and Maritime Museum of Istria, Pula

10. Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal, Krapina

Interestingly, with two in Vukovar and one in Krapina, it shows that people will travel away from the top hot spots. 

10 Most Reviewed Museums in Croatia (TripAdvisor)

1. Istrian De Dignan – Ecomuseum, Vodnjan

2. Gornji Ugao Tower, Dubrovnik

3. War Photo Limited, Dubrobnik

4. Zagreb 80’s Museum, Zagreb

5. Apoxyomenos Museum, Mali Lošinj

6. Meštrović Gallery, Split

7. Trakošćan Castle, Trakošćan

8. Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal, Krapina

9. Peek & Poke Computer Museum, Rijeka

10. Image of War – Photography Museum, Zagreb

Museum Night

A very nice cultural tradition has taken place each year in the winter in Croatia since 2005 – Museum night. Museums in Croatia open their doors with special exhibitions on the same night, and entrance is free. First organised with just six museums in Zagreb, the event has been wildly popular, and more than 200 museums all over the country have been participating for the last several years. Even during the 2021 Museum night, events took place, mostly online but some in person. Find out more about this amazing event on the official website.

Here is a list of museums in Croatia, arranged by region. If there is a museum missing, please email [email protected] and we will add it. 

Museums in Istria

Istria Archaeological Museum (including the Pula Arena), Pula

Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria, Pula

Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Pula

MEMO Museum, Pula

Pazin Town Museum, Pazin

People’s Museum, Labin

Poreč Regional Museum, Poreč

Umag Town Museum, Umag

“Kuća o Batani” Eco-Museum, Rovinj

Novigrad Museum, Novigrad

Lapidarium Museum, Novigrad

Buzet Regional Museum, Buzet

Istrian De Dignan – Ecomuseum, Vodnjan

Museums on the Coast (Northern Adriatic)

Museum of Natural History, Rijeka

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts, Rijeka

Rijeka Town Museum, Rijeka

Maritime and Historical Museum of Croatian Littoral, Rijeka

Peek & Poke Computer Museum, Rijeka

Croatian Tourism Museum, Opatija

Nehaj Fort, Senj

Senj Town Museum, Senj

People’s Museum, Novi Vinodolski

Crikvenica Town Museum, Crikvenica

Lošinj Museum, Mali Lošinj

Apoxyomenos Museum, Mali Lošinj

Museums in Dalmatia

Split City Museum, Split

Archaeological Museum, Split

Ethnographic Museum, Split

Meštrović Gallery, Split

Croatian Maritime Museum, Split

Gallery of Fine Arts, Split

Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Split

Froggyland, Split

Museum of Natural History and Zoo, Split

Sports Hall of Fame, Split

Archaeological Museum, Zadar

National Museum, Zadar

Museum of Ancient Glass, Zadar

Permanent Exhibition of Sacral Art, Zadar

Museum of Illusions, Zadar

Šibenik Town Museum, Šibenik

Trogir Town Museum, Trogir

Narona Archaeological Museum, Vid

Museum to The Island of Brač, Škrip

Museum of Natural History, Metković

Korčula Town Museum, Korčula

Biograd Regional Museum, Biograd

Kaštela Town Museum, Kaštel Lukšić

Betina Museum of Wood Shipbuilding, Betina

Imotski Regional Museum, Imotski

Stari Grad Museum, Stari Grad

Ivan Meštrović Museum, Otavice

Antun Gojak Town Gallery, Makarska

Novalja Town Museum, Novalja

Museum of The Cetina’s Krajina Region, Sinj

Omiš Town Museum, Omiš

Trilj Regional Museum, Trilj

Branislav Dešković Gallery, Bol

Pustinja Blaca, Nerežišća

Obrovac Regional Museum, Obrovac

Stojan Janković Castle, Islam Grčki

Drniš Town Museum, Drniš

Museums in Dubrovnik

Archaeological Museum, Dubrovnik

Cultural-History Museum, Dubrovnik

Ethnographic Museum, Dubrovnik

Museum of Homeland War, Dubrovnik

Museum of Natural History, Dubrovnik

Maritime Museum, Dubrovnik

Gornji Ugao Tower, Dubrovnik

War Photo Limited, Dubrovnik

Love Stories Museum, Dubrovnik

Vlaho Bukovac House, Cavtat

Baltazar Bogišić HAZU Collection, Cavtat

Konavle Regional Museum, Čilipi

Museum of Archaeology and Monument Heritage, Pridvorje

Museums in Zagreb

Klovićevi Dvori Galery

Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb

Museum of Broken Relationships

Archaeological Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art

Zagreb City Museum

Modern Gallery

Mimara Museum

Museum of Arts and Crafts

Croatian Museum of Naive Art

Croatian School Museum

Dražen Petrović Museum and Memorial Centre

Croatian Museum of Natural History

Croatian History Museum

Meštrović Atelier

HAZU Sculpure Museum (Gliptoteka)

Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters 

Croatian Railway Museum

Croatian Telecom Museum

Police Museum 

Marija Jurić Zagorka Memorial Apartment

HAZU Graphic Art Cabinet

Typhlological Museum

Zagreb Tošo Dabac Archives

Croatian Sports Museum

Jozo Kljaković Memorial Collection

PBZ Bank Museum

Museum of Illusions

Tortureum- Museum of Torture

Zagreb 80’s Museum

Image of War – Photography Museum

Andautonia Archaeological Park Zagreb

Turopolje Museum, Velika Gorica

Prica Gallery, Samobor

Prigorje Museum, Sesvete

Matija Skurjeni Museum, Zaprešić

Museums in Slavonia

Vučedol Culture Museum, Vukovar

Vukovar Hospital 1991 Memorial Site, Vukovar

Slavonia Museum, Osijek

Art Museum, Osijek

Art Gallery, Slavonski Brod

Brod-Posavina Museum, Slavonski Brod

Vinkovci Town Museum, Vinkovci

Valpovo Regional Museum, Valpovo

Požega Town Museum, Požega

Našice Regional Museum, Našice

Ilok Town Museum, Ilok

Đakovo Regional Museum, Đakovo

Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer Museum, Đakovo

Virovitica Town Museum, Virovitica

Pakrac Town Museum, Pakrac

Slatina Regional Museum, Slatina

Nova Gradiška Town Museum, Nova Gradiška

Stjepan Gruber Regional Museum, Županja

Ivan Metrošvić Memorial Gallery, Vrpolje

Ethnographic Collection of Rusyns and Ukrainians in Croatia, Petrovci

Stari Slatinik Regional Collection

Museums in Northern Croatia

Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal, Krapina

Krapina Town Gallery, Krapina

Ljudevit Gaj Museum, Krapina

Trakošćan Castle, Trakošćan

Varaždin Town Museum, Varaždin

Varaždin Old Castle, Varaždin

Varaždinske Toplice Regional Museum

“Old Village” Museum, Kumrovec

Veliki Tabor Castle, Veliki Tabor

Čazma Town Museum, Čazma

Museum of Peasants’ Uprisings, Donja Stubica

Koprivnica Town Museum, Koprivnica

Đurđevac Town Museum, Đurđevac

Međimurje County Museum, Čakovec

Bjelovar Town Museum, Bjelovar

Podravka Food Museum, Koprivnica

Antun Augustinčić Gallery, Klanjec

Križevci Town Museum, Križevci

Gallery of Naive Art, Hlebine

Brdovec Museum, Brdovec

Sveti Ivan Zelina Museum, Sveti Ivan Zelina

Josip Generalić Gallery, Hlebine

Petar Preradović Birthplace, Pitomača

Original Art Gallery, Zlatar

Museums in Lika

Nikola Tesla Memorial Centre, Smiljan

Gacka Museum, Otočac

Lika Museum, Gospić

Forestry Museum, Krasno

Museums in Karlovac-Sisak Area

Sisak Town Museum, Sisak

Striegl Town Gallery, Sisak

Karlovac Town Museum, Karlovac

Ozalj Regional Museum, Ozalj

Jasenovac Memorial Area, Jasenovac

Ogulin Regional Museum, Ogulin

Moslavina Museum, Kutina

Krsto Hegedušić Gallery, Petrinja

For the latest news from the world of museums in Croatia, follow the TCN dedicated page.


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