Decorations Collection. Today the Croatian History Museum has approximately 4,000 decorations, which is the largest collection of this type in Croatia and the wider region. The Collection features the decorations of many European and world states from the nineteenth century to the present day. Most notably this includes decorations conferred by the Habsburg Monarchy, as well as Montenegro, Serbia, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, the Holy See, France, Spain and Portugal. The value of the Collection is also enhanced by decorations from Africa, Asia and the Americas: Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, China, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Venezuela, Chile and the United States.
Most of the decorations were donated in 1982 by Veljko Malinar, a collector from Zagreb.
The decorations have considerable cultural and historical significance; they illustrate the political (and especially wartime) events of the countries in which they emerged. The artistic rendering of decorations testifies to the cultural achievements of a given society, and its rises and falls. In the history of human activity, particularly in the last three hundred years, decorations are an integral component of governing institutions, their functioning and maintenance.
The Croatian History Museum’s Medals and Medallions Collection also began to form relatively late, and most of the gathered materials pertain to domestic (Croatian) history and art. These are medals and medallions from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries made by Croatian and foreign medal-makers, and they are dedicated to associations, institutions, ruling dynasties, renowned personalities and events from military, political, cultural and economic history. The collection contains approximately 1,000 medals and medallions gathered mostly as gifts from citizens or by purchase. During the Second World War, the rich collection of Vlatko Mesić – who collected Austro-Hungarian medals and medallions conferred during the First World War – was purchased.
The Collection also contains works by Robert Frangeš Mihanović, Rudolf Valdec, Ivo Kerdić, Rudolf Spiegler, Teodor Krivak-Klaužer, Ivan Jeger, Vanja Radauš, Želimir Janeš and other renowned Croatian artists.
Insignia Collection. The Croatian History Museum also holds a large collection of approximately 4,650 insignia. Although insignia generally do not have any significant financial value, their importance to the study of any society is immense. Thus, when looking at these insignia, memories are evoked of former sports clubs: the “First Croatian Ice-skating Association in Zagreb” established in 1874, the “First Croatian Association of Bicyclists in Zagreb”, established in 1885, the “Croatian Sokol” established in 1874, the “Croatian Academic Sports Club (‘HAŠK’)”, established in 1903, and others. Besides the insignia of sporting associations and clubs, the Museum also holds numerous military insignia, particularly from the First World War, as well as hunting, fire fighting and Red Cross badges.