120 years of the National institute for education of blind children
In developed European countries, national institutes for education of the blind opened as early as the 18th century, particularly after Louis Braille invented the alphabet for the blind in 1825 and it became clear that even the blind can get educated. It was not until the end of the 19th century with the appearance of Vinko Bek, a teacher from Bukevje, that organized work on the education and social care for the blind in Croatia commenced. Vinko Bek systematically worked on diminishing social prejudice towards the blind with the aim of establishing an institution for their education.
In September 1895, the National Institute for Education of Blind Children was opened in Ilica 83. This was the first institute for the education of blind children in Croatia. Vinko Bek was appointed teacher and first interim director. Thirteen pupils enrolled in the first school year – seven boys and six girls. The Institute comprised a five-year elementary school, a two-year extended course, craft training, and a musical course.
Since the beginning, the Institute had to deal with organization and financial issues, while social and political circumstances rarely favoured its mission. For long, the Institute changed numerous locations and names, witnessed in the items selected from the belongings of the Typhlological Museum, as well as those borrowed from the Croatian School Museum, which are presented in the exhibition in a chronological order in several thematic units.
This exhibition marks 120 years of the National Institute for Education of Blind Children in Zagreb through a small segment of its work.