Zdenka Lechner was born in 1918 in Osijek. She completed girls’ modern high school in Zagreb, and from 1940 to 1945 worked in the post office directorate as a clerk. In 1953 she took a degree in anthropology from the Science and Mathematics Faculty of Zagreb University. She started her museum career in Museum of Slavonia, Osijek, where as curator she explored the ethnographic material in the field of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, for the sake of studying the most important elements of the traditional culture in the whole area of NW Croatia.
In 1965 she was promoted to senior curator, with a move to the Ethnographic Museum Zagreb, where she ran the Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem Costume Department. As well as systematic concern for the protection of the holdings, she catalogued items per collection, carried out acquisitions, research and publication of material. Her connection with the International Folklore Festival in Zagreb and with the folk arts festival Vinkovci Autumn, Đakovo Broideries, Youth and Beauty of Slavonia (Stari Mikanovci), Šokac Session (Županja) and the folk arts events in Donji Andijevci is important. She elaborated numerous preliminary connections for permanent displays in various museums: Požega Basin Museum, today Požega Municiipal Museum, Split Ethnographic Museum, Vukovar Municipal Museum, Museum of Brodsko Posavlje, Našice Local Museum and others.
She is the author of many specialised articles, prefaces to catalogues, exhibitions, has co-authored monographs, and directed to ethnological films. The crowning point of her career was the publication by the Croatian Association of Folk Arts Traditional Culture of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem in 2000. From the ample bibliography one can see how many subjects she dealt with: potting, textile handicrafts and apparel, seasonal customs and so on. For her long-time work she was awarded 22 medals, letters of thanks, charters, certificates and commendations.
NB. Data taken from the questionnaire, material taken from the Personnel Archives of the MDC, and from an interview recorded on May 22, 2002.
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