Conceiving the Museum of Arts and Crafts as an “institute that has to give artisans the chance to be trained and have further training by vivid training” and determining it as a “means for giving lessons in artistic styles and in the history of art not only at the university but also in the future trades schools”, Izidor Kršnjavi in the Statutes and plan of the future museum built the important segment of education into its foundations, to be constantly present, following contemporary trends in museum pedagogical work.
In the post-war period Zdenko Vojnović expanded educational work with children, young people and students. He opened a children’s art workshop in the Museum; it was run by Edo Kovačević, at that time an art assistant and the first lecturer in museology in Zagreb University. He brought in summer practical work for art history students and worked in concert with the Zagreb schools. The first museum educationalist was employed in April 1959, which saw the start to systematic educational work. The Museum directed its educational function to children of pre-school age, of elementary and secondary schools and also to “producers (artisans, in industry, professional associations and unions), to the wide extra-mural community and to foreigners”. Another teaching task was the education of staff in schools and preschools. Lectures and courses were organised, as were guided tours, and special events such as chamber evenings related to individual collections.
The permanent displays, with their clarity and additional information, have always stressed their educational aspect, while the occasional exhibitions provided high quality information about history, as well as about the most recent trends in art. The Museum has thus played an important role in the formation of the tastes of both young artists and the general public.
Today the Museum has opened its doors wide, through its educational programmes, among other things, to all kinds of museum visitors, from groups from pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, tertiary level institutions, adult education institutions and institutions concerned with special needs, as well as groups of tourists and other such groups, and finally, visits from individuals and families.
Apart from guided tours adapted to the needs and interests of groups, in order to provide visitors with a pleasant and active stay in the Museum, numbers of diverse creative workshops are organised in the museum. They cover various activities, including art, meetings with authors and museum experts, improvisations in drama and dance. On Saturdays and during the school holidays, whole day workshops are put on, visited by adults and children, with works that are created in them being regularly exhibited there.
For adults, on days when the Museum works longer evenings, Museum Meetings are held; this is a programme in which museum experts and their guests, artists and other creative minds talk about topics related to the holdings and occasional exhibitions, or put on creative workshops.
With this kind of intimate communication, by paying respect diversities in age, culture, education and emotions, for example, the Museum has become a place at which visitors feel active participants in the cultural life of our setting.