In 2019, the Spiš Museum in Spišská Nová Ves submitted a project called Manor House Susanna - Museum Experience to the EEA Grants. The intention of the project was to obtain support for the restoration of the farm building, located in the area of historical complex in Markušovce and, subsequently, to installa new expositions, enriched with interactive elements and new technologies. The administrator of this historical complex in Markušovce is the Spiš Museum in Sišská Nová Ves. In addition to the farm building, this area is home to the Renaissance manor house and the Dardanelles summer house. This noble area is completed by a picturesque French park. In 2020, the Spiš Museum received good news - the submitted project successfully passed and the financing of the planned activities was approved.
Museum compound also includes an outbuilding situated on the west side of the manor. The building was completely reconstructed in the 1980s. The first floor is currently used as a depository area and the ground floor serves as a shop selling tickets to the museum and promotional items. Originally, the building was intended as servants' quarters and the ground floor housed livestock or horses that were harnessed to carriages. And why "Curia Zuzana"? Construction of the building was commissioned in 1745 by František Máriássy (*1706 - † 1756) and his wife Zuzana Szontágh (*1703 - † 1770). This information is confirmed by the relief above one of the building’s portals, which shows the family coats of arms of both of them. Their descendants lived inhabited the compound until 1933, when Edmund Máriássy sold the manor house. Interestingly, since the mid-19th century the Máriássy family lived in the same former outbuilding on the eastern side of the grounds that had been rebuilt as a curia, meeting the requirements for comfortable family living. Edmund's children left home to live all over Europe and almost all of the descendants of the direct manor house owners never returned to Markušovce. The only exception to this is Edmund's second son, Pál Máriássy (*1911 - †2004), who grew up here. Following the sale of the manor in the 1940s he settled in Sweden, where he later married Heidi Berckemeyer.
The reconstructed Manor House Susanna will be a ring that will connect the jewels associated with the Máriassy family, situated in the area of the French Park. The vision of this project is to provide a new perspective on the museum and its use, a new way of presenting the history. By using augmented reality, we want to bring personalization to historical collections. The historical character will appear in front of the visitor in an authentic environment and become a narrator. Thanks to the application of this form of presentation to the ethnographic part of the exhibition, depicting the historical customs of people from the Spiš region, we will connect the visitor to their own experiences. By involving all the senses, playing period music, demonstrations of clothes or practical demonstrations of crafts, we will return the visitor in time to the homes and traditions of our ancestors.
From the point of view of monuments, Markušovce is a pearl among the villages in the Spiš region. However, the present sets us a mirror of contrasts. The aim of our project is not only to save the tangible cultural heritage left to us by our ancestors. The much more difficult task will be to preserve the intangible heritage, pass on the traditions, customs, skills and knowledge. An important step is therefore to involve marginalized groups in the project and make them become an active part and creators of the project.
We firmly believe that together with all the project actors we can fulfill this mission and that we will all meet in the newly reconstructed Manor House Susanna, experience the new interactive exhibitions for our visitors where we will be able to provide them a place to relax, have fun but also learn something new.
Keep your fingers crossed! :)