About the museum

On the 26th of May 1935, during the celebrations of Stoyu Shishkov' half-century work for the good of the society and of his 70th birthday, Stoyu Shishkov announced his idea for establishment of a museum in his native Ustovo. For the purpose of 'building a salon to house the Middle Rhodopes and the Thracian ethnographic museum', he made a donation of 50000 golden Bulgarian levs. A month later, the money was transferred into the  Ustovo Popular Bank into the Progress Chitalishte's (community cultural centre) account for the establishment of the museum. By virtue of Order No 1141 of 8th May 1937 issued by the Minister of Education, the statute of the Ethnographic museum in the village of Ustovo was approved. A special regulation of the Bulgarian Committee of Science, Art and Culture concerning the preservation of cultural landmarks and the development of museums in Bulgaria led to the establishment of the Rhodopes people's museum in Raykovo at the end of 1951. Originally, the museum displayed ethnographic exhibits but gradually other departments such as historical, archaeological and art were developed. In 1967 the museum's status was changed into a Regional Museum of History. Since 2002, the Smolyan Museum of History has been officially named after its founder Stoyu Shishkov and has been functioning as a museum of the whole territory of Smolyan region. Its thematic scope covers history in broad terms.