In order to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (1816-1889), the Croatian History Museum and the Varaždin City Museum have organised an exhibition on “Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski – The Initiator of Croatian Identity“.
Steeped in biographical detail, the exhibition presents Kukuljević’s work in the time when Croatian national awareness was being shaped, his contribution to the process of national integration and recognition within the South Slavic framework in opposition to Vienna’s centralist agenda.
As a tireless writer, politician, historian, epigrapher, preservationist, archivist and collector of artworks, he was the first to set out to make a scientific case for and articulate the totality of facts constituting the Croatian national identity, and to highlight its specific features. Therefore, we believe that there is good reason to call him the initiator of Croatian identity.
Broad scope of Kukuljević's interests, his inexhaustible energy and his inquisitive spirit, was not only a mark of the time in which he lived, but also a trait of his character and intellect. Kukuljević dedication and full commitment to establishing key scientific and cultural institutions and opening many scholarly questions and disciplines crucial to the national status of the Croatian people, created a foothold for future generations of researchers up to the present day.