Museum for Vexillology

If this banner stumps you, then flaunt your new gained knowledge when you unfurl your body, hoist yourself out of your chair, and strike out for the dictionary. All of the words in italics are clues to the type of museum, though in a different context. They are all words used in association with…FLAGS.

Yes, I ventured to the Flag Museum. This is the first of its kind I had ever heard of, but here it is in Budapest. Though the address states it is at Jószsef körút 68, the only thing I could find at that address was a bar offering a lesbian sex show. I knew immediately this was wrong since I have such skill with deductive reasoning. I checked the address again and again, but this was the correct number and street. I walked up and down the street, and then crossed over to number 70 on the other side. Nope, not there either, but as I turned to come back, I happened to notice a banner of flags draped across the street on Nap utca. Sure as shoot’in, the entrance was there. Walking down the five steps, I noticed the sole person I was to see sitting at a desk eating sunflower seeds while screaming at some poor soul on her mobile. Her desk looked like the bottom of a parrot’s cage, but she did have the courtesy to hang up the phone when I strolled up to her with money in hand. She looked a bit astonished to see someone enter her domain. The admission is 400 Huf. There was nothing listed for a photo ticket, but I did not bring my camera having a hunch it was not going to be needed. The museum is the collection of Lászlo Balogh, obviously a vexillogist, a flag collector. If there were a sign stating how many flags were on display, I would not know noticed since nothing is in English other than the facts in the previous sentence. At first glance, I though the museum consisted of one large room only. When the bird-chow woman turned on the lights, there was a room overwhelmed with the colors of thousands of rainbows creating the pride of the countries of the world. They are divided in sections according to the globe. The first section is the Oceanic area, then South and North America, and so on. Each flag has some information pertaining to the country it represents, though in Hungarian. My first and lasting impression of the layout was one of a junior high school geography project on amphetamines. Not only are countries represented with their flag, but parts of the country are as well. On a large map of the USA, there is a small representation of each State flag in the respective State. The same goes for the districts or counties in Germany, Spain, Argentina, and others. Balogh must have written to an official in each country to receive a flag. There was a letter from the secretary of the King of Albania stating they do not keep flags on hand, but directed him to where he could purchase one. The letter written in English also hoped that he would enjoy the photo of the Royal family. Whether or not a museum appeals to me, I try to be respectful of it when visiting. I spend what I thought was a respectful amount of time looking over the flags, but the attendant was back on her mobile ignoring me completely. This was fine with me; I don’t crave the attention. When I thought I had done my job and turned to leave, I realized there was now a second room lit and another display to gander at. This other room was devoted to the flags of Hungary, the cities of Hungary, the wine regions of Hungary, and anyone or any group that had a flag or banner to display. Although I am not enamored with flags per se, I did find this interesting for the mere fact that someone has such a hobby. For an hour’s entertainment, it is an interesting place to spend an hour. I could have spent more time there if I could have read the little signs that were glued to the colorful construction paper by each flag to gain some insight, but alas for 400 Huf, you cannot have it all.