History of our museum

The idea of founding an ambulance museum was born in 1896, during the Millenium Exhibition, where the ambulance workers presented their specialized equipments used in Budapest.

The founder of our museum – and also the founder of the Hungarian organized ambulance system – was Dr. Géza Kresz (1846-1901), the chief medical officer of the Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Unit (BÖME). Beginning with 1926, the museum was continually expanded, until it was totally transformed by 1937. In that year, BÖME celebrated its the fiftieth anniversary. The conversion of the museum was directed by chief medical officer Dr. Emil Körmöczi (1869-1949). After World War II, the government decided to nationalize the Hungarian ambulance services. Hungary’s largest medical institution, the National Ambulance Service (OMSZ) was founded on May 10, 1948, whose central governing body – the Directorate-General and specialized administrative departments – was moved to the “Ambulance palace” on Markó street in February 1949. The founder-director was Dr. Béla Orovecz (1909-1966).

Because of the persistent lack of space, the museum’s operation was temporarily suspended in the mid-1950s. The thought of reopening – thus showing this unique collection again – came from Tamás Felkai (1922-1997), chief officer of the special ambulance unit. He organized some informative exhibitions of ambulance history.

The ambulance museum took up the name of its formal founder, Géza Kresz, and reopened in the centennial year of the Hungarian organized rescue services, on May 10, 1987. The director was Tamás Felkai, who headed the institution until his death in 1997. He was followed by the formal/retired chief medical officer of National Ambulance Service, Dr. Zoltán Pap. He was the founder-leader of one department of the OMSZ, the Organization and Methodology Department, dominating current scientific and educational research issues. Under his leadership, the Kresz Géza Ambulance Museum organized traveling exhibitions in close cooperation with the ambulance systems in Hungary. These exhibitions presented to the public the relics of ambulance history, ambulance equipments and the former vehicles of National Ambulance Service.

By developing the Ambulance Museum and popularizing oxiology’s (the science of ambulance) findings, Dr. Tamás Felkai and Dr. Zoltán Pap established unique cultural values in Hungary.

In 2005, 2008 and 2009, major renovations and investments have been made in the Kresz Géza Ambulance Museum. New flooring, lighting systems, and aesthetic cabinets were purchased. The Elemér Paulikovics exhibition hall was turned into a screening room. Our library and research room were renovated and the old-timer ambulance vehicles were exhibited in garages.

We are proud to say that Kresz Géza Ambulance Museum was awarded ’the audience prize of most demanding program’ on the Maytime of Museums 2009, in Budapest.