The main building of the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography took the name of the Main Hall, called “Reduta” (from the French redoute = dance hall). The history of the edifice is much older. In the Middle Age, there were three buildings on this place, one of that preserving a Renaissance frame from the beginning of the 17th century. In the 18th century, the building hosted the most important inn of Cluj, called “Calul alb” (White Horse) or “Calul Bălan”. The emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) changed the building destination into an officer’s school. The city received the building in 1794, making large renovation works in the following decades, finished after 1830. These works were made following the plans of the most important architects of the epoch: Joseph Leder, Mihály Kindt, Georg Winkler, Anton Kagerbauer.
The “Reduta” Hall hosted in the 19th century many important events of the political and cultural history of Transylvania. Here there were many sessions of the Transylvanian Diet, during which there were adopted very important decisions for the history of the Great Principality of Transylvania. Some of the great musicians of the world had concerts here: Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Bela Bartok, George Enescu. The Society of the Transylvanian Museum (1859) and the Hungarian Society of Culture in Transylvania (1885) were established here. In 1872, the congress of the Transylvanian Association for Romanian People’s Culture (Astra) took place in “Reduta” Hall, during which Vasile Ladislau Pop was elected as president of the organization.
In 1894, the famous political trial known under the name Memorandum Trial was kept here. The Trial was initiated by the Hungarian authorities of the epoch against the Romanian leaders of the national movement. During this trial, the leader of the Romanian National Party, dr. Ioan Rațiu, said the memorable words: “The existence of a people is not to be questioned, but asserted!”.
In 1897, the first cinema projection in the city history took place in “Reduta” Hall. The building hosted congresses and meetings of the political parties and cultural associations, fencing championship, costume balls. In 1925, the building was lended by the municipality to the Romanian Army, for a period of 25 years. In this period of time, the building hosted an officer casino.
In 1957, the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography received the present main building, the histroical building “Reduta” on Memorandum Street no. 21, and beginning with 1958 the staff started the restoration works. The Museum is unfolding its activity in this building till nowadays, becoming one of the most important landmarks on the cultural map of Romania.