The Automobile Museum, Bratislav Petkovic Collection, is the newest in a series of technical museums in Serbia. The Museum was founded by the Assembly of the City of Belgrade and Bratislav Petkovic, the collector and owner of a collection comprising historically valuable cars and arhive material on the domestic history of motoring.
The Museum’s premises are situated in the Modern Garage, a characteristic monument of the technical culture of its age, itself declared a cultural asset. The building, designed by the Russian arhitect Valerij Staševski, was built in the city centre in 1929 as the first public garage. It housed the automobiles of the participants in the first international car and motorcycle race ever held in Belgrade, on September 3, 1939.
By transforming the Modern Garage into the Automobile Museum one of the foremost principles of the cultural heritage protection has been satisfied: to use a monument only for a purpose close to the original one. An ideal totally has thus been created, bearing cultural, technical and historical relevance. The Collection contains old and rare cars, valuable both in terms of historical evidence and for a better understanding of the application of scientific achievements, the development and technical progress of motoring in the country and abroad. Besides fifty vehicles, the oldest being a 1897 Marot Gardon, the Collection safeguards various devices, technical and scientific literature, driving-licenses, the first traffic regulations and laws, number-plates, tools, filmed and photographic records, works of art and objects of applied art contributing to our knowledge of the history of motoring.
In its endeavor to be more than just a collection of automobiles, the car being an invention incorporating all the inventions of mankind – from the earliest, such as fire or wheеl, to the latest, based on micro-processors – the Museum has set up an educational programme, including broadcasts, films, lectures, theatrical performances, and other forms of cultural and educational activities aimed at promoting the history of motoring. It has become the meeting place for the legendary riders, museum car collectors and lovers. It also organizes shows and races of museum cars. The communication with the public is also effected through the theatrical play “Grand Prix“, strictly based on documentary material and speaking about the famous Grand Prix race round Kalemegdan on Septembar 3, 1939.
In order to improve its activities, the Museum collaborates with a number of scientific and educational institutions. The Museum provides conditions for the work of a society of Museum’s friends and collaborators, and fosters the foundation of similar groups beyond its own seat. It also provides technical support and instructions for the preservation and maintenance of museum cars to the owners and users.
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