The exhibition and the restoration of the Memorial House was realised in 2008, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the execution of the martyr prime minister. The exhibition is designed by architect László Rajk and texts are written by historian András Mink.
In the basement screening room the 56 minute long award winning documentary “Hot Autumn” by Judit Kóthy and Judit Topits is shown. On demand, further documentary films and private footages on the revolution, the person of Imre Nagy, his trial and after-life are available too.
In the lobby, visitors are greeted by the photograph of Imre Nagy, here blown to life-size, taken by the famous Austrian photographer Erich Lessing in front of the building in August 1956.
On the walls of the exhibition area replicas of Prime Minister Imre Nagy’s hand-written papers in Hungarian, German and Russian alternate with reliefs representing the objects and furniture of the one-time family home.
The life and after-life of Prime Minister Imre Nagy is told on the four projection tables. Each table consists of three bands, each made up of three layers. The story is told in chapters from left to right, from top to bottom, in a chronological order:
|Table 1 – 1896–1945
Kaposvár, 1896–1915. World War I and prisoner of war, 1915–1917. Civil war and returning home, 1917–1921. Back in Kaposvár, 1921–1923. In the illegal communist movement, 1924–1928. Emmigré in Vienna, 1928–1929. Moscow in the 1930s, 1930–1934. Imre Nagy in Comintern, 1934–1941. World War II and his second return home, 1941–1944.
Table 2 – 1945–1956
The land distributing minister, 1944–1945. The beginning of Rákosi’s dictatorship, 1945–1949. The Minister for Farm Deliveries, 1949–1953. Stalin’s death, 1953. Imre Nagy’s first government and the „New Course”, 1953–1954. Fighting the Rákosi clique, 1954–1955. Rákosi’s return to power, Imre Nagy relieved of his post, 1955. In opposition, 1955–1956. Signs of the imminent revolution, June-September 1956.
Table 3 – 1956–1958
The break-out of the revolution, 6–23 October 1956. “Imre Nagy for Head of Government!”, 23–24 October 1956. Failure to restore order, 24–28 October 1956. The short-lived victory of the revolution, 29–31 October 1956. Consolidation in the shadow of the Soviet intervention, 1–3 November 1956. Crushing the revolution, Imre Nagy in Snagov, 22 November 1956 – 14 April 1957. Preparing for the trial, January 1957 – 9 June 1958. The trial and sentence, 9–15 June 1958.
Table 4 – 1958–1989 after-life
The theoretical, political and moral legacy of Imre Nagy. Reactions to the trial. Western emigrant circles. Cenotaph in Pčre Lachaise. The decade of suppression. The opposition movement and 1956. The beginning of the change of the regime. Reburial and rehabilitation, 1989.
(Visitors can surf the texts and illustrations by moving their hands over the red sensor buttons. The buttons operate with a three-second delay.)
In the glass display cases next to the projection tables belongings of Imre Nagy and other contemporary objects are exhibited.
On two television screens the exhumation of Imre Nagy and the other martyrs in 1989, the funeral ceremony on Heroes’ Square 16 June 1989 and their reburial in plot 301 in the Municipal Cemetery of Rákoskeresztúr can be seen. (The films were made by Black Box and the Hungarian Television)
On the table in the centre of the exhibition area, the events of the 1956 revolution in Budapest can be followed on the contemporary map of Budapest from day to day and from scene to scene with the help of similar sensors as on the projection tables.
On the veranda, the English version of the exhibition is available on computer. Here visitors also can listen to the entire recording of the Nagy trial, and watch the interviews with Imre Nagy Award winners.
On the walls, pictures illustrating the history of the building at 43, Orsó utca are presented. In the wall-mounted glass case publications and books related to Imre Nagy are displayed while in the other the publications of the Imre Nagy Foundation on the 1956 revolution and Imre Nagy are shown. These publications are on sale in the House.
Photographs on the staircase walls include several made by Imre Nagy himself of house inside and outside as well as of his official prime ministerial car. The other photos are of Imre Nagy with Mihály Károlyi in 1949, of social democrat politician Anna Kéthly, Small Holders’ Party politician Árpád Szabó and of Imre Nagy in his office in the building of the Parliament as Speaker in 1947.
In the Memorial Room on the first floor, Nagy’s study as Prime Minister is reconstructed with his family photos and several personal objects. Part of the library belonged to the Prime Minister, the rest comes from the libraries of journalist Pál Lőcsei and Sándor Haraszti (courtesy of their heirs). The contemporary radio set plays Imre Nagy’s harrowing speech at the trial, delivered under the privilege of last say.