The History department of Bitola’s Museum explores the time from the settlement of the Slavs on these regions up to the contemporary history.
The department is founded in 1952.
The Middle Ages, which in fact is a period which has been least explored, is supplemented by the archaeological findings. With the aim of making a more complete presentation of this period of Bitola’s development, this department enriches its fund mostly with the reproduction of copies of frescoes, facsimiles, illustrations, old coins and geographic maps, original icons, Turkish title deeds, extracts from Turkish documents, etc.
The development of the history department can be followed from the beginning of the 70s, with the establishment of the separate sections such as: The National Renaissance, Ilinden, Balkan Wars section, Period between the two world wars, National Liberation War and section of contemporary history.
The year 1972 sees the beginnings of a recognition of the terrain of Bitola and its vicinity, investigation of the archives and museums in the country as well as the Institute of National History and other institutions. In 1980 those investigations are supplemented by the investigations carried out in Serbia, in the State Archives, then the Yugoslavian Historic Archive, the Military Museum, etc. In addition, in 2000 these investigations are continued in Bulgaria, in the Central State Historic Archive of Sophia, from where more than 700 documents were acquired, mostly unknown to Macedonian historiography.
As a result of all those investigations made the sections of the National Renaissance, the Ilinden period and the section of the First World War has at its disposal a valuable collection fund, consisting of more than 1500 units of archive materials, more than 4000 photo documents and more than 300 items such as weapons, seals, medals and other kinds of original items.
In connection with the presentation of the museum materials, numerous thematic exhibitions of the Ilinden period and jubilee occasions have been organized, including the exhibitions entitled as:
- “Ilinden in the revolutionary district of Bitola”
- Exhibitions dedicated to Dame Gruev (1963,1973,1981).
Permanent exhibition was set up as a commemorative museum dedicated to the great leader of the Macedonian revolutionary movement Goce Delcev, and located on the street Stevce Patakot, Number 11. (1988)
The occasion of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of UNESCO was marked by the exhibition entitled “The culture of the living and working environment”, which was promoted on 24 October 1980, in the Sava center in Belgrade.
The Ilinden Uprising was the theme of the remarkable exhibition organized the Hall of Culture – Bitola in 1993.
To mark the 95th anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising, the Institute and Museum organized a documentary exhibition titled “The Ilinden Uprising in the Bitola Revolutionary District” and a catalog was published.
On the occasion of the great jubilee of “A 100 years since the Ilinden Uprising” (2003) a great documentary exhibition was organized (with 40 panels), a fitting celebration of such an important anniversary. A large part of the newly discovered documents and archive findings were presented, and a quite new form of design in color made its first appearance in this exhibition.
The period of the Balkan wars, the period between the two world wars, the National Liberation War and contemporary history can be followed in the work of this museum since the 50s.
In the field of research, collecting and purchasing activities of this department, the following are worth mentioning:
- Collection fund of items, weapons, medals, items of everyday use from the period between the two world wars (500 items)
- Old Bitola, postcards, photos (500 items)
- The development of physical culture and sport in Bitola (3000 items)
- Postwar erection of Bitola (15000 items)
- Collection of the private photo-grapher Mihajlo Zega with more than 60 000 negatives and photos and around 50 items relating to photo technique
- Collection fund of pictures of the Bitola gymnasium (1000 photos)
Such a rich collectionary fund from this period has made possible an extensive presenting activity, as demonstrated by numerous exhibitions and the many permanent exhibitions like:
The installation of a permanent museum exhibition about the life and deeds of the national hero Stevan Naumov Stiv in the house of his birth on the street Peco Bozinovski No. 11, promoted on 4th July 1961 and renewed in 1978 and 2002.
- (1950) two thematic exhibitions were realized : “Socialist construction” and “The National Liberation War of this region”
- (1964) Setting up the permanent museum exhibit “Bitola and its surroundings in the National Liberation War”
- (1979) “35 years of Socialist construction”
- (1982) “National heroes Stiv and Mite”
- (1984) “Bitola yesterday and today”
- (1985) “40 years since the beginning of Macedonian education”
- (1986) “Physical culture and sport in Bitola and its surroundings”
- (1988) permanent exhibition “Lavci in the National Liberation and Anti Fascist War”
- (1993-2003) “The people of Bitola about their fellow townsmen Jews”
- (1999) “Bitola babam Bitola as seen through old postcards and photos”
- (2001) permanent museum exhibition housed in the Portal of the Jewish Cemetery “Bitola’s Jews”
- (2004) “60 years since the forming of the Aegean Brigade”
In this period of the development of this department, apart from the above-mentioned exhibitions, more then 50 other exhibitions, which are no less important, have been organized.