The University of Novi Sad organized an Exhibition on Matica Srpska, the oldest Serbian cultural and scientific institution, founded in 1826 in Pest (Budapest). The Exhibition was shown November 18-30, 2015, in the Exhibition Pavilion of the Central University Building.
The Exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Matica Srpska and the official opening took place on November 18, 2015. The President of the Matica Srpska Prof. Dr. Dragan Stanić opened the Exhibition and the Rector of the University of Novi Sad Prof. Dr. Dušan Nikolić addressed the guests on behalf of the University.
The entrance was free for all visitors. Apart from the individual visits, 30-minute guided tours of the Exhibition with the curators of the Matica Srpska were also organized.
Matica Srpska is the oldest literary, cultural and scientific institution of the Serbian people that has been active for almost two centuries. It was founded in Pest (Budapest) in 1826. Its founders believed in the active participation and inclusion of Serbian people in modern European trends, especially after centuries of Ottoman occupation. That is why the main activities of Matica since its foundation have been directed towards the education of the Serbian people as well as presenting the Serbian culture to the rest of the Europe. For that purpose, intense publishing activity has been developed. The milestone of that activity was the famous Letopis (Chronicle), first published in 1824, which is considered to be the oldest active literary journal in the world. Later on, numerous other editions were published, and among them was one with a prominently educational role, appropriately named Books for the People. During the 1840s, necessary conditions required for scientific work were created in Matica Srpska as well. It was then that a library with miscellaneous literary and manuscript collections from various scientific fields was formed. Since then this library has represented a remarkable testimony on the history of the Serbian people. At the same time, the collection of portraits, The Serbian Pantheon, was created. It contained portraits of writers, most notable people’s representatives, distinguished scientists, but also portraits of less known benefactors who supported the educational mission of Matica with their contributions. The Matica Srpska was one of the richest foundations in the Hungarian Empire thanks to the wide support of people. Matica funded many capital projects that were very significant for standardization of the Serbian language and the development of various scientific disciplines. At the same time, Matica financially supported the education of talented pupils and students who were to become the future intellectual elite. In 1864, Matica Srpska relocated its headquarters from the Tekelijanum palace in Pest (Budapest) to the Platoneum palace in Novi Sad. It was then that the city of Novi Sad became known as the ʽAthens of Serbia’. The city was given this nickname because Matica Srpska was considered the meeting point of the wisest and the most educated people. That connection became even more emphasized later on. Matica Srpska became a symbol of civil society, culture, education, Enlightenment, and charity.
Today, Matica Srpska has around 2.000 associates. They are included in several dozen projects within seven scientific departments; they prepare contributions for nine periodicals published by Matica and work on the preparation of publications that are of fundamental importance for the Serbian culture and science, such as the Serbian Encyclopedia, the Serbian Biographic Dictionary, the Dictionary of Serbian Language, Orthography... The Matica Srpska Library has over 3.500.000 books, and the Matica Srpska Gallery houses a rich collection of Serbian paintings from the eighteenth to twentieth century. The Publishing Center continues the tradition of the former Matica Srpska Publishing Company, whose editions have been recognizable for decades throughout Southeastern Europe by the emblem MS, which signified high-quality and carefully selected literature from various fields. Matica Srpska awards annually worthy accomplishments in various fields of culture and science.