This paper is a segment of a project on the history of scientific thought in Slovakia, devoted to individual scientific figures. The author is concerned on ethnographer Michal Markus, a Slovak born in Hungary, who came to Slovakia in 1947 in the context of an exchange of Slovak and Hungarian populations after the Second World War. M. Markus, a trained ethnographer and linguist, who had defended his doctorate in Budapest University and worked for ten years in a museum in Budapest, brought a notable increase of strength at a time when ethnographic science in Slovakia was began to be professionalized. He began to apply his theoretical and practical knowledge in practice at the East Slovakian Museum in Kosice, where from 1952 to 1957 he worked as director. From 1951 he held the position of elected president of the Museum Committee of the Union of Slovak Museums (ZSM) and began to press effectively to have qualified professionals appointed to work in museums. The communist takeover in Czechoslovakia in 1948 brought new tendencies into the museum field. Museum work was orientated towards a thoroughgoing teaching of history as it is to say in its contemporary interpretation; exhibition was conceived as an instrument for political education and propagation of political tasks. Instead of the 'teaching of history', what was put into effect was a 'teaching by history' or 'formation through history'. Hence in the late 1950s the activities of ZSM also began to be transferred to politically directed institutions and the activity of museums as professional organs came to an end. M. Markus's further activity was focused on the scientific-research work. In 1950 a branch of the Slovak Academy of Science's Ethnographic Institute was formed in Kosice at the East Slovakian Museum, which Markus was appointed to lead, along with his work at the Museum. He carried out the first collective research in communities which had had to be relocated for military reasons. In 1954 his further research work was connected with the most significant ethnographic project of the time - creation of the monograph 'The Mining Village of Zakarovce' (publ. 1956). From the standpoint of the history of our scientific discipline this was a research breakthrough, in which contemporary ethnography had to set itself in the framework of the Marxist-Leninist conception of culture and commit itself to a politically demanded object of research. In his scientific-research work M. Markus made a priority of the area of culinary culture, which he described as the most neglected area of Slovak ethnography and in subsequent years published a series of fundamental works on this question.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.