Opening of the in situ exhibition

On February 8, 2022, the Library of the Romanian Academy in Cluj opened the exhibition including the 21 manuscript fragments restored and described within the FRAGMED project, as well as other exhibits.

Several essential stages of the project “FRAGMED – A Transylvanian puzzle: Reconstructing medieval culture from fragments of codices” were completed by the opening of the in situ exhibition, at the Library of the Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca Branch. Thus, two years of restoration work, expertise and elaboration of classification applications for the 21 fragments of medieval manuscripts on parchment were crowned by the opening of this exhibition. Fragments of the oldest manuscripts of Cluj and Transylvania (12th-16th centuries) were brought to life, which had been used as book covers, in the binding of books from the XVI-XVII centuries. The host institution, through the mediation of the project team, thus offered Romania a new heritage, which, although it existed, was ignored. The collection of “fragmenta codicum” (Fragm. Cod. Lat.) was born at the Library of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca. The opening of the exhibition benefited from the presence of several personalities from Cluj: Acad. Doru Pamfil, President of the Cluj-Napoca Branch of the Romanian Academy, Prof. Dr. Sorin Crișan, Director of the Library of the Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca Branch, Prof. Dr. Daniel David, Rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University, PS Benedict Bistrițeanul, Prof. Univ. Dr. Adrian Papahagi, Senior Researcher II, Dr. Codruța Cuceu, project manager. We were honored with the presence of more than 50 other friends, colleagues and scholars from Cluj, the country and abroad.

During the event, our special guests from the Budapest Institute of Musicology gave us a royal treat. Three of the exhibited choral manuscripts came to life through the voices of Eszter Gaál and Mózes Enyedi:
1. Introit, sung on the feast of Saint Michael, the patron saint of the Catholic bishopric of Transylvania, from the gradual of the church of Saint Michael in Cluj, beginning of the century. XVI (Alba Iulia, Bibl. Batthyaneum MS I.1 & Cluj, BAR, Fragm. Cod. Lat. 19-21);
2. The response ‘Lapides torrentes’, sung at the feast of Saint Stephen the protomartyr, from a Cluj fragment from the first half of the 15th century (Cluj, BAR, Fragm. Cod. Lat. 14-15);
3. Antiphon ‘Ave Spes Nostra’, sung by the Annunciation, from the antiphonal of the cathedral in Oradea, XV century (Győr, Egyházmegyei Kincstár és Könyvtár, s.n. & Cluj, BAR Fragm. Cod. Lat. 1-2).


Medieval calligraphy on paper workshop

On March 31, 2022, the first demonstration workshop of medieval calligraphy on paper was organized. The workshop was facilitated by Prof. univ. Dr. Adrian Papahagi and the two assistant exhibition facilitators. 17 students of “Babeș-Bolyai” University from Cluj-Napoca participated in the workshop. Here are some pictures.

Activities for facilitating the in situ exhibition

The spring months of 2022 were marked by the intense development of activities to facilitate the exhibition. Facilitator assistants within the exhibition provided a large number of groups (pupils, students, master’s students, PhD students) with guidance in visiting the exhibition. This type of guidance was carried out throughout the implementation period of the exhibition activity.


The flyer which contais informations about the 21 items restaurated within the Fragmed project can be consulted here:


Exhibition catalogue

The Fragmed exhibition catalogue can be consulted here:

A Transylvanian Puzzle – Exhibition Catalogue

Documentary films made within the Fragmed project

The film “FRAGMED – A Transylvanian puzzle: reconstructing medieval culture from fragments of codices” documents the medieval history of Cluj in relation to the fragments of parchment manuscripts restored within the project. It reveals some “pages” from the multi-ethnic, multicultural and pluri-confessional history of medieval Cluj and Transylvania.

The documentary film about the restoration process of the 21 medieval manuscripts presents in stages the procedures and techniques of restoration and binding to which they were subjected.

Opening of the traveling exhibition at the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer

Opening of the traveling exhibition at the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer
In parallel with the on-site exhibition, between January 2022 and August 2022, the preparatory stages for the opening of the exhibition in Norway were carried out, through collaboration between the Romanian Academy, the Cluj-Napoca Branch and Bjerkaker LearningLab. The partner institution Bjerkaker LearningLab undertook all the necessary steps to be able to organize, within the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer, the opening of the traveling exhibition.
The opening event of the traveling exhibition of the project “FRAGMED – A Transylvanian puzzle: reconstructing medieval culture from codice fragments” took place on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, at 15:00 at the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer. Sturla Bjerkaker, the Norwegian coordinator of the project, Kristina Skåden, curator of the Lillehammer exhibition and Kjell Mariul Mathiesen, Head of Department at the Lillehammer Museum, spoke at the opening event of the exhibition. About 20 people participated in the event.
The inauguration of the traveling exhibition of these restored medieval manuscripts also marks the beginning of the final stage of the implementation of the project entitled FRAGMED – A Transylvanian puzzle: reconstructing medieval culture from fragments of codices, through which the partners benefit from non-refundable funding from the SEE Grants 2014-2021 in the amount of 128,775.57 Euros.
The exhibition opened in the Maihaugen Museum gives the 21 manuscript fragments from Romania international visibility, in order to draw attention to the need to save and preserve such objects with European relevance. The main exhibition, which also contains the restored manuscripts, was already inaugurated in February 2022, in Cluj-Napoca. Maihaugen presents a smaller version of the exhibition in situ and includes exhibition panels, two documentary films on the history of the manuscripts and the restoration process, digitized examples of manuscript fragments and books or photographs of the restoration work, as well as a multimedia installation explaining the history of each manuscript.

Workshop for the presentation of parchment production and processing techniques

On September 12 and 13, 2022, two parchment production and processing workshops were organized. In the first workshop, our expert illustrated the parchment processing process, with specific informations regarding the technical aspects of making parchment from various types of skins and the influence of technological parameters in obtaining the special characteristics of various uses of parchment. Also in this workshop, the expert in parchment processing illustrated the main moments in the history of parchment processing, with an emphasis on the medieval regional history of this craft, which was characterized by the production, in Transylvania of the Middle Ages, of a type of parchment of such high quality, that it could hardly be distinguished from the imported one.
During the second workshop, the expert in parchment processing presented a guide for assessing the state of degradation of a heritage parchment, explaining (i) the methods of identifying the animal from which it is made, (ii) the types of damage depending on the factors of deterioration and (iii) evaluation of the degree of deterioration.

Demonstrative Workshop of Medieval Calligraphic Writing on Paper and Parchment

On the 14th of November 2022, within the exhibition, the second demonstrative workshop of medieval calligraphy on paper and parchment was organized. The facilitator of the workshop, one of Romania’s best medievalists, shared the workshop participants some introductory elements of Latin Paleography, and, thereafter, he initiated them into the various writing styles used in the Middle Ages. The calligraphy workshop started with a preliminary stage of preparing the “quills” through a specific method of indenting the tip of the bird (goose) feathers. The participants to the workshop learned the methods of indentation and precise use of this rudimentary and enduring writing instrument used for several centuries, from the beginning of the early Middle Ages to the XIXth Century. The participants got acquainted not only with this rare ritual of indenting bird feathers, a ritual which is still preserved only by a few professional calligraphers, but also with the differences that the support materials, either parchment or paper, impose on calligraphy. In this workshop, the facilitator insisted upon the writing (style) that was dominant in the Middle Ages in many parts of Europe, from England and France to Central Europe. The participants could practice the Gothic minuscule called textualis, the Nordic variant, the Carolingian writing. Thirty people enthusiastically participated in this workshop.

Demonstrative Workshop for Book Body and Book Binding Restoration

Several generations enjoyed on the 19th of January 2023, at the Academy Library, Cluj-Napoca Branch, the presence of four exceptional book restorers from the Center for the Restoration and Conservation of Old Books of the National Union Museum in Alba Iulia. Within a practical and interactive demonstrative workshop, the bravest and most curious of the more than forty participants could test their skill and patience by practicing the main techniques of restoring old books under the close supervision of specialists. We are infinitely grateful to the four specialists-restorers, Alexandru Știrban, Maria Zgârciu, Marius Anghel and Maria Cernea, for saving, through restoration, the 21 fragments of medieval manuscripts from the Library of the Romanian Academy, Cluj-Napoca Branch, for their entire effort to train two of our colleagues, the direct beneficiaries of our joint project, in the field of book restoration, and for their involvement in this practical workshop. By facilitating this workshop, they managed to whip up the younger generation’s interest for this rare and all the more precious profession.


By fragmed January 16, 2023
As they were restored at the National Unification  Museum, Alba Iulia, the manuscript fragments were digitized, described and published on the Fragmentarium website (click on…

Exhibition catalogue

By fragmed May 21, 2022
The Fragmed exhibition catalogue can be consulted here: A Transylvanian Puzzle – Exhibition Catalogue
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