The Hungarian Royal Institute of Arts and Crafts opened its doors on November 14th 1880 with its first class, the carving workshop. The Institute belonged to the Hungarian Royal School of Model Drawing and Teacher Training – a predecessor of the University of Fine Arts – founded in 1870. The institution was placed into the (former) Music Academy's building on Andrássy Avenue. In the 1880s and 90s, a number of new classes were added: model drawing, metalwork, wood engraving, decorative painting, copper engraving, and statuette sculpting and decorative sculpting. Starting from the academic year 1887/88, a 2-year preparatory course was added, thus extending the 3-year training program to 5- year.
/The school's first schedule/
Due to the growing number of students and broadening range of educational activities and after having moved several times, the institution finally received its worthy residence alongside the Museum of Arts and Crafts, in a palace designed by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. The school became an independent institution, performing successfully at public exhibitions, e.g. at the millennial exhibition of Hungary. The institution also achieved great success internationally, winning gold medals at the 1900 World Exhibition hosted in Paris and the 1902 World Exhibition in Turin, as well as a grand prize at the 1906 World Exhibition in Milan.
The school's profile was further enhanced through the years; in the academic year of 1911/12, the 2+3- year system gave place to a 3-year high school course followed by a 2-year college program. The curriculum was further enriched with courses in literature, folk art, pedagogy, social and economic studies; furthermore, the institution opened its doors to female students as well. In 1914, the school journal, Decorative Art brought out its first issue, contributing to art education nationwide in the difficult years to come. During WWI, teachers and functionaries established a 100-bed military hospital within the school building, providing lessons in arts and crafts to blinded soldiers. Due to the new pedagogical concept under the regime of the Soviet Republic of Hungary, the educational system was radically changed, but after its downfall the former curriculum was reinstalled.
/Wounded soldiers on the schoolyard/
From 1924 to 1936, school affairs were managed by a team of 5 – a principle, elected every 2 years and 4 school council members. The 3+2 system was further extended, giving way to a 3-year undergraduate program followed by a 3-year graduate program. In 1936, the educational structure was modified to 2 years basic technical training, with individual design exercises only in the years that followed. During this period, the school's workshop was expanded and modernized.
During WWII, teaching became impossible. After cleaning up the ruins, school education was relaunched with modified organizational conditions: in 1946, lower grades were detached, forming the new Szépműves Lyceum. Higher grades became part of another new institution, the Academy of Arts and Crafts, with a 4-year curriculum and 6 specializations: interior design, ceramics, graphic design, textile design, sculpture and metal design. More than a decade after its petition, the school was finally awarded the title college in 1948.
/Studios in the 40s/
Due to the growing number of students, in the Fall of 1954 part of the school moved to a building managed by Zoltán Farkasdy and his co-workers on Zugligeti Road. From the 1960s onwards, with a growing number of international sponsors, education was facilitated. The school became internationally acclaimed and due to its success, received the university rank in 1971.
In 1983, rector István Gergely launched a wide-scale reform in order to bring closer the aspects of education to the existing demands. The first two semesters provided undergraduate courses in general theory, drawing, design and material studies with creative exercises. After having passed an exam, students could choose between two majors. After graduating they could pursue their studies on a university level. In 1986, the school became the first state institution in Hungary to give a degree in management. In 1987, The Center for Visual Education was established to host courses in teacher training, functioning alongside the school's exhibition hall, the Tölgyfa Gallery.
In 1993, the educational system acquired its present-day state, with the following departments: architecture, product design, silicate design, textile design and visual communication. Theoretical education, post-graduate art and environmental culture studies and courses in art and design management are still managed separately. On January 1st 2000, the school finally changed its name to Hungarian University of Arts and Design, adopting the title it had acclaimed 3 decades before. Post-graduate studies can be pursued in the Doctoral School. After its building had been demolished, the school gallery was moved to a new location, the PontON Gallery on Batthyány Street in 2004.
On March 1st 2006, the university took up the name of László Moholy-Nagy, an internationally celebrated Hungarian artist, changing its name to Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME). In 2006 photographer Gábor Kopek was elected and in 2010 re-elected as rector of MOME.
The palette of courses offered has been enhanced over the years, currently encompassing space, object and image design. Due to its university-level education in areas architecture, design, media and theory, the 132-year-old institution plays a significant role in the nation's cultural life.
/The university today/