The Exhibition “Underground Iași – Rediscovered Histories” at the Palace of Culture​

The Exhibition “Underground Iași – Rediscovered
Histories” at the Palace of Culture​

Moldavia’s History Museum within “Moldova” National Museum Complex in Iași invites the public at the Palace of Culture to visit during the period 12 January – 30 June 2021 the exhibition “Underground Iași – Rediscovered (Hi)Stories”, whose opening will take place on 12 January 2021, at 2.00 p.m., complying the social distancing rules imposed by the Covid-19 pandemics. The event will be broadcast live on the facebook page of the project promoter and on the project specific facebook page. The access in the exhibition will be free of charge throughout its  entire duration.

Created within the homonymous project,  the exhibition “Underground Iași – Rediscovered (Hi)Stories” aims at pointing out the local heritage items discovered by means of archeological researches performed in areas surrounding the historical center of the city of Iași with the occasion of the implementation of urban development projects during the last decades. The exhibition excursus itself is completed with documentary information regarding this space, interactively organized, the innovative elements being found mainly at concept level. Generally speaking, the Middle Ages in the area east of the Romanian Carpathians have been known mainly through the religious heritage, which includes both the cult edifices that survived from those times, and the  movable heritage items that are specific to them, and to a lesser extent though what is known from documents or testimonies of foreign travelers.

This exhibition project highlights for the first time neither the religious life, nor the court life, on which there are rather numerous and consistent pieces of information, and the possibility of corroborating data in documents with the archeological ones, but the area surrounding the Princely Court, the area where craftsmen and merchants would live, according to their own rhythm, dependent only to a certain extent on the one of the Princely Court.

The heritage items have been thematically selected and subjected to spatial and chronological filters, focusing on the second half of the 16th century and the entire 17th century, i.e. the period when the capital city of the Country of Moldavia was moved from Suceava to Iași, a fact that determined a specific urban development.

As for the museum displaying technique and complementary materials, as well as at the level of implementation of the exhibition message, the thematic discourse involves the integration of cutting edge techniques and technologies, so to bring the past and the way people would live in those days closer to the general public. In few words, the exhibition can be described as designed to provide a immersive experience, like a show.

The exhibition space was not chosen randomly. Under the glass floor which represents about a fourth of the exhibition hall surface, there are preserved in situ several foundations and constructive features which point out the architectural evolution of the space of the former Princely Court, i.e. the precise spot where the nowadays Palace of Culture stands.  This space – preserved exactly as in the  time of an archaeological research– is integrated to the exhibition theme. Thus, a beamer, mounted under the glass floor, facilitates for the visitor the visual understanding  of the different constructive phases of the walls and foundations that have been brought to light within the archaeological excavation. This “reenactment” is achieved also by placing under the glass floor one of the items restored within the project as well as some of the tools used by archaeologists on site, while at work. Such a display manner is meant to bring to visitors’ attention to the specialized techniques and methodology applied in the context of archaeological excavations.

The interactive showcases have two focus areas: the exhibits themselves and the screen in the upper part, where video content is displayed in order to complete through text, static image and dynamic image /animation, the real exhibits. Moreover, the exhibited items, pointed out through the precise use and directing of lighting, are placed on a turntable which starts rotating as soon as a visitor comes near the showcase.

Thus, the exhibition provides several innovative features for the Romanian exhibition space: first of all the fact that the showcases “get animated” when the visitors get close to them, as well as the synchronized presentation of the exhibits with the running of complementary information on the upper screens; secondly, the information content is considerably improved through the visualization of exhibits at 360 degrees and provision of animated visual information on the upper screens. This non-formal manner of transmitting knowledge increases visitors’ access to information contained by exhibited items and helps at their replacing in their specific epoch.

The central showcase includes a special item, a diptych sundial created in 1591, by famous instrument maker Hans Trӧschel of Nuremberg, discovered in Iași in 1996, and also its enlarged replica,  which allows the better understanding of the manner in which this time measuring instrument used to operate. Thus, a robotic arm has been designed particularly for this showcase, in order to simulate sunlight. In fact, it reproduces the manner in which the sundial would indicate time. Through its design and central positioning of the showcase, both the sundial and the robotized replica can be observed by visitors on all sides and from above as well.

The exhibition is implemented within the Project “Underground Iași – Rediscovered (Hi)Stories”, implemented by “Moldova” National Museum Complex of Iași in partnership with Fornleifastofnun Islands (The Institute of Archeology of Iceland), based in Reykjavik. The project is financed through the EEA Grants 2014-2021, within the RO-CULTURA Programme, the call “Innovative cultural exhibitions of restored objects supported“, and the total project value is of 617,288.12 Ron.

EEA grants are the contribution of the peoples of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and strengthening bilateral relations with the 15 beneficiary States in eastern and southern Europe and the Baltic States.

In total, the three countries contributed EUR 3.3 billion between 1994 and 2014 and EUR 1.55 billion for the 2014-2021 funding period. More details are available on the   and  

The RO-CULTURE programme is implemented by the Ministry of Culture through the Project Management Unit and has the overall objective of strengthening economic and social development through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management. More details are available on the