I put the Museum of Good Memories (MEMO) on my “to visit” list a long time ago. It is located in the center of Pula in Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula. Since I went to high school in this fascinating city, I often walked by the building where it is situated. More specifically, my favorite bar from those years called Rock Caffe is just a few meters away from the museum. As I wandered by the same streets as years before, my past slipped in front of my eyes. Quite symbolic, right? Before I even stepped inside, so many of my memories came back to life.
THE FEELING OF A RELIVED PHOTO ALBUM
The Memo is representing a typical family life from the ‘1950s to the ‘1980s. In other words, the time before I was even born. However, it brought some of my memories to the surface of my mind. You may be wondering how if I am a ’90s kid. Well, my parents were born and lived during the time the Museum of Good Memories is presenting. Because of that, I heard a lot of stories from them. As a result, I also gain a much better idea about life in Pula in those years.
When my friend Tjaša and I arrived at the museum it was like walking into the past. A not very distant, but rather familiar one. The one we remember when we think about childhood. The one where we can see our grandparents buying us ice cream. Above all, the past where our parents were the same age as we are now. And the stories about their youth that we have forever saved in our family photo albums. In a way, we both had the same feeling of reliving those albums, 30 years later.
THE BLAST FROM THE PAST… ORGANIZED IN 3 PARTS
The Museum of Good Memories consists of three main sections. Firstly, a street with lots of very familiar vehicles. Secondly, there is the town square Kod Mađara. A well known pastry shop named Kod Mađara was situated there. I asked my mum if she ever ate cakes in that place, and of course, she did. The locals from Pula loved and often visited the popular pastry shop.
The last part of the exhibition tells a story about a typical family from Pula. The mother works in Arena trikotaža and the father in legendary shipyard Uljanik. It’s the part where I could almost imagine living with an actual family from the ‘80s. The idea of reading the newspapers, listening to music, and drinking coffee among them was indeed real.
DRIVING A YELLOW FIĆO – A DREAM COME TRUE
The first part of the museum is portraiting one of the streets in Pula.
When I was in elementary school, my dream was to get an old Tomos automatic instead of a bike. Tomos was a very famous moped in former Yugoslavia and later became a legend. At the time, my friend Stefano had one of those mopeds parked in his backyard. I guess it belonged to his grandfather. We were trying to convince our parents to let us drive the old Tomos for quite some time. However, they didn’t like the idea. Therefore, we never became the cool kids with a dangerous motorcycle.
Seeing a very similar Tomos parked in the museum made me smile. I must admit it still looks very cool, but not dangerous at all. What is your opinion?
Years later, I had a new dream – a pink Fićo (nickname for the car Zastava 750). In the meantime, I also got my driving license :D. A yellow Fićo parked near the Tomos is very similar to the one from my dream. I knew I had to get in and make my teenage dream about driving a lovely Fićo come true. At least for a few moments. The car also has suitcases on the top of it- perfect to sit inside and start a new journey, right? ☺
WANNA PLAY AN OLD COMPUTER GAME? YOU CAN TRY IT!
Town square Kod Mađara consists of a few sections. Most of them connected to childhood memories and a typical school. I am sure that many games and books will be familiar to all visitors, not only to the locals. So if you are not from Pula or ex Yugoslavia, you will still find something that will remind you of your past.
For instance, an old computer could be one of those reminders. The Memo has two models on the table. You can get lost in the moment and try to compete with your friend in some old PC game. I used to play one (something about airplanes) on my computer years ago. I had the best scores if my memory serves me correctly (followed by Stefano and my dad). Of course, if you ask them, they would probably disagree.
RING RING…TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL
The school is the part that felt most different than the way I remember it from the early 21st century.
Firstly, we saw a bunch of vintage books and notebooks. For sure, it was more amusing to read them now than 20 years before when it was necessary.
Further, Tjaša and I were most impressed by one of the costumes we saw on a doll. It seemed quite familiar, but we didn’t know the exact story about it. Petra, the guide, explained it belonged to a girl that participated in the manifestation called Slet. This event occurred on Youth day in former Yugoslavia and was a mix of dance and gymnastic performance. I can imagine how much effort she put into her part and how proud she must have felt.
HELLO…WE WOULD LIKE TO ORDER A PIZZA, PLEASE
Did you know you can try to order a pizza from this museum? Here is how.
Tjaša loved the idea of a small post office and the phone inside of it. I still remember the days when we had a similar one in my birth town. There was also a phone book on the table below. And guess what, the museum has one too. First, we tried to find our last names. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much luck.
The second idea was to try and find some restaurants nearby. And we did, more than one. I also tried to call one of them. Do you wonder if someone picked up? I’ll leave that question unanswered…
MANY SURPRISES IN THE HOUSE OF A TYPICAL FAMILY FROM PULA
They say that good music never gets old. That is true, without a doubt. When I stepped into “the house” music was the first thing I noticed. Pula was a punk rock city with lots of famous music bands. KUD Idijoti is one of them. Their popular songs brought back so many memories from the time I was in 6th grade and discovered punk.
While singing quietly and checking out the living room, we found many more forgotten things. On the other hand, we also saw some that most people still have in their homes. One of them is Cedevita, a drink everyone from Croatia knows about. If you decide to go to a bar after visiting the Memo, I recommend you to try it too.
Cedevita is not the only drink we noticed. To clarify, we also discovered a lot of alcohol bottles in the living room.
Still, the item I felt most connected to is an old sewing machine. My grandma Marija still has a very similar one at home. Therefore, this museum item almost played the role of a time machine. It brought me back to my family’s house somewhere in the middle of the ’70s. ☺
WE ARE NOT LEAVING WITHOUT A CUP OF COFFEE FROM THE PAST
Time to go back to the cold streets of Pula (wintertime can be freezing here) was getting closer. Before leaving, we decided to sit for a bit longer in the living room, relax, and drink some coffee. At least pretending to drink it.
If you want to know more about the history of Pula don’t skip this museum. I’m sure you would love it. On the other hand, if you are a local you will probably feel like going back to your childhood. We certainly did!
VISITING THE MUSEUM OF GOOD MEMORIES IN THESE TIMES
Since the Memo Museum is very interactive, did COVID-19 and the new regulations that came with the pandemic, affected that part of your museum? In other words, did you find solutions for the museum to still be as interactive and fun for visitors, even during this difficult period?
Unfortunately, we didn`t have many visitors during season 2020 so we could keep the museum exhibits under strong epidemiologic conditions (disinfection, ventilation, maximum number of visitors at one time).
P.S. If you decide to visit the Museum of Good Memories during the following summer, it will most probably be open. However, in the wintertime, the museum is closed. The good news is that if you travel with friends you can always call and arrange a private tour with a guide.
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