The Romanian Uniforms’ collection of the National Military Museum is made up of over 13900 items, thus being the largest collection of the museum. Out of these, less than 1000 are on display, representing around 7% of the total.
The first military uniforms and equipment accessories, which were the founding stone of the collection, started to be acquired in the early years of the 20th century. They were supposed to be exposed within the Military Section of the National Antiquities Museum, on Kiseleff Road, opened in 1914. In the years that followed, the items’ gathering continued, reaching, in 1923, the year of the National Military Museum’s opening, up to 496 items.
The oldest items of this collection are two pieces of garment: a tunic and a cloak attributed to Mihail Nicolae Pătraşcu, the legitimate son of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave, Romanian ruler 1593-1601), dated as belonging to the first half of the 17th century, discovered in a surprisingly good state in Comana Monastery, in 1973. Referring to military uniforms, the oldest tenue is a M. 1843 Major’s tunic from the 3rd Infantry, which belonged to Colonel Pandele Scarlat Cerchez. Another rare item is a M. 1848 Artillery Second Lieutenant service dress tunic. Older but scarce elements, coming from the 1830’s and 1840’s such as epaulettes and buckles exist within the collection.
Uniform and equipment items from Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza are also scarce and are, mostly, elements and accessories such as Lancers’ helmets, kepis etc. The number of original items dated after 1866 begins to grow progressively becoming numerous towards the end of the 19th century. The scarceness of uniforms and accessories dating before 1895 is also tributary to the relative lateness to which the systematic process of collecting started, after 1918.
Among important pieces of the collection, uniforms, pieces of uniform or accessories belonging to important historical figures such as King Carol I (M. 1873 general in-chief uniform), King Ferdinand (M. 1925 Field marshal uniform), King Carol II (M. 1930 Artillery Field marshal uniform), Queen Maria (M. 1895 Honorary Colonel in the 4th Line Cavalry Regiment), Princess Elisabeta (M. 1895 Honorary Second Lieutenant in the 4th Line Cavalry Regiment) stand out as well as important commanders of the Romanian Army: Field Marshals Alexandru Averescu, Constantin Prezan, Ion Antonescu, General Nicolae Dăscălescu etc.