Museum of Ministry of Interior displays rich collection of exhibits

 One of the oldest museums in Sofia is situated behind the imposing building of the Sofia Court House. This is the Museum of the Ministry of Interior, which was established with the first document issued by the municipality for the creation of the Sofia police back in 1908. Today the museum has a rich collection that includes objects, documents and even works of art. The museum is visited mostly by organized groups of children and students, but also by people with a special interest in the past of the institution. Once you enter you see intriguing exhibits. Curators aim at shedding light on topics that are interesting and relevant to people these days. Children and adults are mostly interested in technologies used by the Bulgarian authorities for solving crimes. Crime existed in the past and continues to exist today. But the Museum of the Ministry of Interior has many interesting items, displayed as evidence that there is retribution for daring offenders. Here visitors can see the first polygraph used in Bulgaria – it was made in the US and used by Bulgarian intelligence services in establishing the truthfulness of claims of persons being tested. More from curator at the museum Pepa Vidarkinska: "People who are interested in learning facts about criminal activity often come here. Visitors are very interested in the instruments of notorious safebreaker from the 20s and 30s of the previous century, Spas Doychev. He was one of the best in the industry of that time and was quite a colorful character, too. His tools raise curiosity today and he even has followers. But by showing that negative example, our aim is to highlight the qualities of law enforcement officials. Eventually, during one of his actions Doychev was shot. After his death the society was relieved of the fear he used to create. People who want to see the machine for printing counterfeit dollars of famous in the 30s Todor Krivnaliev, who was making counterfeit money for Al Capone, also come here. But the documents related to the Cold War, for example, are transferred to the Commission on Dossiers and we have no right to possess them. We have photos, personal belongings and anything that was taken by the police in relation to an offense, whether it was criminal, political or economic one. We also have media publications about some of the most notorious crimes.” Often curators from the museum are invited as consultants when creating weapons and uniforms for films is required. This is no accident, as the museum has a rich collection of obsolete uniforms and items. "The museum possesses weapons of the past, which are not used anymore. Interestingly, we have entire collections of weapons and police uniforms from Bulgaria, Russia, Hungary, Romania, France, and Cuba. Speaking about uniforms, this country has followed the Soviet example of those years. The color is gray but there are differences in shades. Dirt is barely visible on this color. The aim is also the uniform to evoke respect. The uniform generally has a symbolic function; it is a way to highlight the position of the officer in the hierarchy. In many ways, we can compete with the Museum of Socialist Art with the largest number of exhibits from the period 1944 – 1989. This is understandable because a lot of things related to Bulgarian police before 1944 were destroyed for political reasons. Original uniforms from the times of the monarchy, flags and medals are rarely found. However, in our collection there are some wonderful items from that time, decorated with symbols like a lion, cross and crown."