The Museum of Arts and Crafts (Croatian: Muzej za umjetnost i obrt, or MUO) in Zagreb was established in 1880 by Isidor Kršnjavi, Croatian artist, curator and politician. At a time, he was a president of the Arts Society.
The idea behind the museum was to create a place where artisans and artists could see the mastery and the production of everyday items, to preserve traditional everyday objects and to create a new aesthetic culture of the middle class. Two years later, in 1882, the accompanying Crafts School was founded and it is one of the oldest Croatian schools in general. Today it is a School of Applied Arts and Design and shares a building with the museum. The building was made by famous Austro-Hungarian architect Hermann Bollé in 1888 and was a base for one of the most beautiful Zagreb squares along with the Croatian National Theatre (Croatian: Hrvatsko narodno kazalište) at the centre. When mentioning Bollé, we must bring up his two most famous works, The Mirogoj Cemetery, neo-Gothic towers of Zagreb Cathedral, Đakovo Cathedral and Križevci Cathedral.
The museum holds permanent exhibitions on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors. The ground floor, with the main entrance, is used for temporary exhibitions, as well as part of the basement which can be accessed by following downstairs and going through a glass corridor that crosses the atrium. The atrium is often used for various cultural, business, and political events. On that level are placed a museum restaurant and a café, too.
Today, the museum holds more than 160 thousand objects of fine arts and crafts organised in different collections. Objects are acquired by prominent members of Arts Society like Isidor Kršnjavi and bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, and by donations from private collectors. The fundus is divided into collections by material and medium; architecture, ceramics, glass, furniture, metal, graphic design, photography, paintings, textiles, fashion and other objects from Croatian and European history can be observed numerous times and one can always find something new. Besides the aforementioned collections, the museum has its own library with more than 65 thousand books and journals.
The museum is currently closed because it suffered great damage in the Zagreb earthquake in March, but if interested, you can see a part of the permanent collection on digital platforms Europeana, an online collection of European museums, and Google Arts&Culture.