If, like us, you have always wanted to see a real life Auto-Gamma Scintillation Spectometre, then the Dimitrie Leonida Romanian National Technical Museum in Parcul Carol is the place for you.
The National Technical Museum is situated in the last remaining pavilion built for the Great Romanian Exposition of 1906, organised at the behest of King Carol who wanted to put his adopted country (Romania was still rather young) on the European map by showing off everything that was great and good, traditional and modern. (The Tepes Castle, in another part of the park, which once featured on a cover of Bucharest In Your Pocket and which is today home to Romania’s Institute for War Veterans is another legacy of the 1906 expo).
The pavilion became the home of the National Technical Museum in 1909, making it one of the oldest permanent exhibitions in the country. And while the place is horribly dated and dusty, it has a fantastic selection of exhibits, which – if polished up, put in to better order and given some context (a bit like the makeover the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum has just had) could be a genuinely great and highly educational museum.
Even in its current state the museum is well worth a visit. We decided to go for two reasons: (i) We had never been there and (ii) We had visitors in town with kids of all ages and (having done the Antipa the previous day) we were pushed for ideas.
We can therefore report that eight kids aged from five to 11 spent over an hour exploring the Technical Museum before the youngest began to get bored. Made a bit more hands on (you can currently touch very little) it could be one of the biggest children’s attractions in Bucharest.
While the kids loved the cars and the model trains best, what caught our eye was the Jetpack (officially known as an ‘Individual Flight Device’), invented by two Romanians, Justin Capra and Ion Munteanu in 1958 (indeed, the museum is proof that Romania has given the world some of its finest engineers).
The success of the Antipa (the queues outside the place this week speak volumes) is evidence that people in Romania will pay relatively high prices for entry to a museum if they feel they are getting value for money.
At the Technical Museum, entrance is currently just 3 lei for adults, 1.50 for children. It is a bargain and we suggest you go there immediately.