Blinken OSA Archivum
Blinken OSA Archivum

New Look, New Exhibition


New Look, New Exhibition

The Blinken OSA Archivum welcomes the summer with a new look, new websites, and its first ever collective exhibition.

This Summer, the Blinken OSA Archivum is updating its public image with a new brand, name, and new websites.

After our parent institution, CEU, had its educational programs and students exiled to Vienna for political reasons, we had to rethink our activities and our target audience.

Our new identity aims to visually reflect the institution’s diversity, emphasizing our collections, educational and research activities, and our cultural programs. Galeria Centralis, a part of the Archivum, has also launched a new website featuring exhibitions and events from the past three decades.

In conjunction with the rebranding, the Archivum will open its first collections exhibition, Facts for Real: Collections and Communities, on June 21, 2024, at 6 p.m. This exhibition will showcase selected documents, weaving them into layered narratives that explore major historical events of the Cold War era and its aftermath, while also providing insights into the everyday lives of ordinary people.

We hope to meet you on Friday, June 21, at 6 p.m., at our exhibition opening in the Galeria Centralis!

Our new exhibition's poster

What do we preserve? What are we doing in Budapest?

The Blinken OSA Archivum is a repository of significant collections and historical documents, preserving materials related to the history of the Cold War, severe human rights violations, and marginalized communities, including Romani, LGBTQI+ people, and people with disabilities. Additionally, it serves as the official archive for the Central European University (CEU) and the Open Society Foundations network.

Our activities encompass the management and processing (digitization, classification, description) of archival collections. Besides its archival profile, the Archivum also functions as a research hub. Through the twice-yearly Visegrad Scholarship at OSA program, we host researchers from around the globe. We also organize educational and scientific programs, including lectures and conferences.

We organize academic events—lectures, conferences, seminars—but our free public events cater to more than just the academic community. The Galeria Centralis offers exhibitions and accompanying events such as film screenings, guided tours, concerts, and theater performances. We also provide educational programs for high-school and university students, and host the Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, all aimed at a broader audience.

The Archivum has also played a crucial role in launching major cultural initiatives such as Fortepan and Budapest100, organized in collaboration with KÉK - Contemporary Art Centre.

The facade of the Archivum

What was, and what will be the name of the institution?

Anyone familiar with us likely knows us as “OSA,” which stands for Open Society Archives. In 2015, we adopted the Blinken name to honor the generous support of Vera and Donald Blinken. Since then, we have aimed to be known as the “Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives” in English, and “Vera és Donald Blinken Nyílt Társadalom Archívum” in Hungarian. Over time, we resorted to the shorter “Blinken OSA Archives.”

In 2024, we decided to unify our English and Hungarian names, and to emphasize our archival nature more strongly, becoming “Blinken OSA Archivum,” or “Archivum” in short.

Our most recent name

Archivum? Why Archivum?

Archives are custodians of facts, places of authenticity, and cornerstones of history. They are dynamic institutions actively involved in preserving and processing documents of historical events.

Did you know, however, that archives are not just repositories of old documents? The rapid development of digital culture has significantly changed how archives operate. This is reflected not only in the format of the documents we hold but also in the way they are accessed. Consider, for instance, the digital content freely accessible on our website in our curated or online collections.

We wanted a name that preserves our institutional identity while being easily recognizable and descriptive in an increasingly international and digital milieu.

Inside the Archivum

What about the new identity?

The new identity aims to reflect our evolving role and the challenges we face, presenting us as a modern, dynamic, and accessible institution. To achieve this, we selected the renowned Hungarian design team, Studio VAN, through a carefully prepared invitational competition. Their innovative work surpassed our highest expectations. We extend our eternal gratitude to Luca and Bálint for bringing our vision to life.

What does the new logo represent?

Although we cherished our old logo, it had not adapted to our evolving name over the past decade. We knew it was time for a change. Our goal was to create a logo that centered around the concept of an “archives” while incorporating elements of our name. This approach ensures continuity and recognizability for our existing audience.

The new logo is based on the letter “A,” formed by a stack of books symbolizing knowledge and preservation. It comes in three sizes: S, M, and L. To maintain the distinctive look of the word "Archivum" and for aesthetic reasons too, “Blinken” and “OSA” are presented in lowercase.


What do the new icons signal?

Our new identity features four main colors (see the menu on the right) and four main icons, representing the core activities of the Archives.

  • The overall symbol for the institution, integrated our logo
  • Collections/Archival profile: Symbolized by a closed and an open archival box
  • Teaching and Research profile: Represented by an academic cap
  • Cultural profile: Indicated by a loudspeaker

The colors used in our new identity are inspired by those found within the Archivum itself. A closer look at our staircase or a review of the Records of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute will reveal these authentic hues.

And what about these pictograms?

Given our extremely diverse collection and complex activities, we realized that a simple color-coding scheme would not adequately address our communication needs. Therefore, we created unique pictograms for our various content and program types, combining functionality with our love for visual design.

Our activities and materials represented

What are the new websites like?

It was time to update our old institutional website, and in collaboration with VAN Studio, we launched the new site: We hope it is likeable and usable!

While we’re still migrating and refining our previous content, most of our materials from the past four years—news, blog posts, and events—are already available. (For those interested in exploring the Archivum's archives.)

Our new institutional website:

Simultaneously, we are excited to unveil the brand-new website for Galeria Centralis, designed by Ákos Polgárdi of Submachine. The rich and colorful (literally eclectic) history of the Central Gallery is now online at:

Galeria Centralis now online at:

And when will the new exhibition open?

To coincide with the launch of the new look and the new websites, the Archivum will open the exhibition Facts for Real: Collections and Communities on June 21, 2024 at 18:00 PM.

We are reinterpreting our collections with innovative approaches, collaborating with partners such as the Háttér Archive and Library and the CEU Romani Studies Program. This exhibition showcases a selection of the Archivum’s collections through “collective curatorial work” and the methods of “community archives.”

In the first collective exhibition in the Archivum’s nearly 30-year history, a wide range of materials are woven into layered stories. These stories cover major historical events of the Cold War era and its aftermath, offering insights into the everyday lives of ordinary people.

And what will be on show at the exhibition?

The exhibition at the Galeria Centralis of the Archivum presents previously unseen materials from the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute’s collection, such as the correspondence of the popular music program of the Hungarian station, Teenager Party, as well as photos depicting the inner workings of the Radios. Samizdat materials, such as György Dalos’s novel, 1985, are on display, with the original illustrations made by László Rajk. The exhibit also includes numerous materials from our extensive audiovisual collection, such as videos documenting the major events of the Hungarian regime change made by the Fekete Doboz Foundation, and the home movies of the Private Photo and Film Foundation offering insiders’ perspectives of personal lives in Hungary throughout almost the entire 20th century.

The materials relating to major historical events are complemented with more down-to-earth, personal narratives, such as the letters sent to the Radio Liberty from the Soviet Union, or a selection of the drawings by Gertrud Bortstieber, the wife of philosopher György Lukács, included to the letters sent to her family from the post-1956 exile in Romania, on public view for the first time. 

Our first ever collective exhibition opens on Friday, June 21, at 6 PM