The principal aims of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts are to collect, register, document and study works of applied art, to keep and display them as part of the natural cultural treasures, and thereby to disseminate the values of object and environmental culture for educational purposes.
The changing contexts of museums and their day-to-day operations require the Museum of Applied Arts to rethink its philosophy and redefine itself for the new, 21st-century environment. The outcome of this process of self-definition will be the renewal of the Museum's operation, i.e. of its exhibition, research, collection and communication activity.
This renewal is in fact a return to the aims espoused by the Museum of Applied Arts at its foundation. These included forging links with the industry of the time, providing guidance to industry through the presentation of the technology and forms of past ages, forming public taste, and promoting demand for applied art products. Additionally, many of the most valuable items in the collections today were contemporary art works when the Museum was founded. The tasks of the Museum are thus to preserve, supplement, research and exhibit objects of great historical value, to spread awareness of the times and cultures that produced them, and to research, collect and exhibit today's material culture in the widest sense.
Our working philosophy is based around the presentation of stylistic history and technical development of material culture from the Middle Ages to the present day as this relates to the Museum's scope and content of its collections; presentation of the past with references to the present in a system of organic interrelationships of past and present; and assistance in contemporary reception and in present interpretation of the material culture of the past. In addition to providing a 21st-century interpretation, we would like to show how technology and forms created in the past are the precursors of today's material culture and of what we regard as our own tastes. By this means, we would like to raise the quality and standard of contemporary visual culture.
A priority task of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is to maintain contacts with contemporary applied artists and designers, workshops and artistic organisations, to provide them with a place of presentation, collection and research, and to explore and report developments in applied art and design in Hungary and abroad. Furthermore, the Museum's collections and its library should be sources of inspiration for these artists. The Museum intends to stand as a yardstick of value and to pursue activities that exert an influence on future applied art and design. As a laboratory of art history with high standards of research into the material culture of the past, the Museum of Applied Arts will extend its preservation and new explanations of artists' work.