The Mirror Room
"The most important rule in reality is not to get lost in your own illusions "*

On September 18, 2020 opened doors a new Mirror Room in the Museum of Humor and Satire. A legendary room comes to life after so many visitors to the museum argue it had existed in the past, and some even claim to have visited it in their youth. The truth, however, is that such a room in the Museum of Humour and Satire has never been before. There have been several curved mirrors, installed in two of the foyers of the building reconstructed in the 1970s.

Famed as the Capital of Humor, Gabrovo is a town where locals take pride in their ability to ironize themselves and entertain others with their frugality and sense of economy; tourists go for it as a destination expecting to find themselves in a place of fun, wit and enterprise. The Gabrovo mirrors in the new room will positively meet this demand - they are curved, funny and attractive. They reflect the spirit of Gabrovo humor, transforming a person without great expense. The Mirror Room is the latest permanent exhibition in the Museum; it is located on the first floor, next to the new souvenir shop, and it features a series of varied author's curved mirrors and optical illusions. Visitors will see themselves in a new light in the Gabrovo selfie booths; beautify themselves at almost no cost with the Gabrovo plastic surgery; get lost and find themselves in the smallest, but very confusing Gabrovo mirror labyrinth. The most valuable object in the room is the glamorous Gaberge Egg with a faucet (a whole egg is too much for a meal!). Another legend has it that Alexander III's heirs wanted to buy it, but the thrifty managers of the Museum of Humor and Satire figured out they would earn more from the admission tickets if they kept it.

The new room comprises a series of art installations designed by the young Gabrovo artist Nevena Ekimova who is participant in two of the editions of the Gabrovo Biennale and designer of the children's favourite exhibition room Garden Town opened in April 2019. Two of the attractions - the Gaberje Egg with a faucet and the Kaleidoscope for Two are the work of another participant in the last Gabrovo Biennale, i.e., the Veliko Tarnovo artist Plamen Kondov.

The new Mirror Room is realized with the support of:

The new Mirror Room is realized with the support of: Culture Program of Gabrovo Municipality
Public Donation Fund, Gabrovo
America for Bulgaria Foundation
Express Car Service, Gabrovo
Noble Graphics Ltd.
FourPlus Studio Kranproekt EOOD
Inter Power Ltd.
Coffee Library
BramBar Studio
Stancho Atanasov Ivan Kolev

* Quote from the movie "Genesis", USA, 2010

The Roots of Gabrovo Humour
/Room 1/

The exhibition has beem dissembled as a new one is intended to be designed and installed in the near future.

/Floor 3, the lobby/

The focal point of this eclectic exhibition is eight beautiful tapestries designed by Bulgarian artist Boris Dimovski (illustrator of Gabrovo Anecdotes booklet) on the subject matter "What if Adam and Eve were full-blooded Gabrovians?" Pieces of small Bulgarian sculpture and matching "Garden of Eden" jokes enhance the feeling that man-woman relations remain the topic of the day.
Long Live the Carnival!
/Room 8/

Addressed to the public at large, the exhibition opened doors entirely redesigned and displayed in a recently refurbished exhibition space to celebrate the opening of the new carnival season on 11 November, 2006.

Long Live the Carnival! is the outcome of the collection and research efforts of the House of Humour and Satire in the field of masquerade festiveness; it is also a token of recognition to the donors who have kindly provided material on the subject matter. Thanks to the House's contacts with carnival cities from the world over, visitors to the museum can familiarize themselves with representative carnivals in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Mexico, France, Switzerland, Japan, etc.

On show are authentic carnival costumes, masks, accessories and publicity material. The succinct commentary in Bulgarian and English makes it possible for visitors to go round the exhibition without a guide. By illustrating carnival moments of Gabrovo, Shoumen, Yambol, Pernik, Rakovski and Rouse, Bulgarian masquerade tradition is assigned a particular place in the display.

Presented in details is the Gabrovo masquerade from the beginning of the 20th century until the present day. Because of its carnival, Gabrovo has joined the big family of the Foundation of the European and Mediterranean Carnival Cities. Long Live the Carnival is the perfect backgound for opening the carnival season in Bulgaria on 11 November, at 11 h 11' every year. A number of photographs underscore the part the House of Humour and Satire plays in drawing children and young people to the local carnival traditions (to serve the purpose, educational programmes run throughout the year).

The exhibition room is equipped with a video screen that allows the showing of documentaries and educational films about the carnivals in the world. The exhibition is open to adding new exhibits, and the most valuable new donations find their place in it immediately.
The Mask - the Face of the Festival
African Masks and Sculpture
/Room 7A/

The House of Humour and Satire owns a unique collection of African masks, ritual items and accessories. It has been enlarged in the course of decades by means of purchases and donations made by collectors and connoisseurs of African art. The exhibition features the merry rites and celebrations of the African peoples distinguished for their originality. The variety of symbols, hot-tempered folklore and potent tradition lend them a particular sumptuousness and inimitability reminiscent of primordial celebrations where no borderline existed between the serious and the comic.

On show are masks for protection and initiation, as well as 'peaceful' dance masks, sculpted figures and ethnographic objects. Visitors can see masks from Zambia, Burkina Faso (the BOBO), Congo (the BASONGE and the BAPENDE), Tanzania (the MAKONDE), Nigeria (the JORUBA), figures from Nigeria and Ghana (the ASHANTI), musical instruments from Nigeria and Zambia, etc.

Ancient pieces of African wisdom play an important part in the exhibition, and make a fitting illustration of the different ritual objects.

The Sin - Bulgarian National Revival Period murals
/Room 8/

The exhibition shows a selected collection of 48 copies of frescos and fresco fragments that can be found in 20 different churches and monasteries all over Bulgaria. The murals cover the following thematic groups: The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, The Ordeals of the Soul and Final Judgement. The subject matter gave enough freedom to a number of high-minded Bulgarian National Revival painters to ridicule and castigate everyday human vices and faults. The original frescos date back to the beginning of the 18th century.