Scientific panel “Hommage to the Pokuplje Expedition”

Thursday, 6th July 2023, B. Ogrizović Library (Preradovićeva 5, Zagreb)

Speakers: Matija Dronjić (Zagreb Ethnographic Museum) and Josip Smernić (historian)

Matija Dronjić: “The virtual exhibition Vladimir Tkalčić, photographer of the Ethnographic Museum”: the
acquisition excursion marks the centenary of the first large-scale ethnographic expedition
of the Ethnographic Museum. In the summer of 1923, a group of enthusiasts led by two
curators of the Ethnographic Museum – Vladimir Tkalčić and Milovan Gavazzi – went
down the Kupa river from Karlovac to Sisak in kayaks. Over the course of four weeks, they
sailed about a hundred kilometers and visited 34 villages, researching ethnographic and
cultural-historical heritage, and in addition to field records and collected museum objects,
one of the most outstanding results of this endeavor is a unique collection of anthological
field photographs stored as part of the Documentation of the Ethnographic Museum,
authored by Vladimir Tkalčić. The exhibition presents a complete collection consisting of 90
negatives on glass in a virtual space, and through it talks about the very circumstances of
the implementation of this anthological research, as well as other important and relatively
unexplored topics for the history of the Ethnographic Museum (especially Documentation)
and contextualizes them as the pioneering venture of visual anthropology in these areas.

Josip Smernić: “2014 Expedition in the Kupa river basin”

The 2014 Expedition in the Kupa river basin was a repeat of an earlier expedition, which
Milovan Gavazzi took in 1923. The 10-day expedition was organized by the Sisak City
Museum during a volunteer camp. The participants were Museum employees and
history students, including me, an ethnology, anthropology and information sciences
student. The idea to repeat the expedition came up on the 90th anniversary of the
original expedition. We wanted to compare the conditions found by Milovan Gavazzi to
the current situation and record the local tangible and intangible heritage of the Kupa
River basin area. The expedition included the area along the Kupa River from Karlovac to
Sisak. The specific locations were Luka Pokupska, Rečica, Šišljavić, Lijevi Štefanki, Pokupsko,
Vratečko, Letovanić, and Nebojan. We used field research methods, interviews with
local people and recorded traditional architecture, customs, and tangible heritage.