Olga Oštrić was born in Petrinja in 1922. She completed elementary education in her native town as well as junior high school. Her family moved to Zagreb in 1937, where she went on with her education at the 2nd Girls’ High School.
At the Faculty of Philosophy of Zagreb University in 1946 she received a degree in ethnology with geography and archaeology (the 27th group as it was then known). She got her first job in the Zagreb Ethnographic Museum, working there from 1947 to 1951. From 1951 to 1962 she was director of the Zadar Ethnographic Museum, that is, manager of the National Museum’s Ethnographic Department, which she continued until her retirement in 1982. The museum was founded on the basis of the collection of D. Jurković of Benkovac, who donated 100 ethnographic items to the future museum. But it was when Olga Oštrić came to Zadar that the first systematic collection of material, documentation and research began. She was the first ethnologist in the area of northern Dalmatia, and put together a fine collection of costumes, textile items and jewellery. She also founded and organised museum film documentation and photographic documentation.
During her work she toured many localities, collecting ethnographic material in the neighbourhood of Zadar, in the inland hills and indeed in the whole of Dalmatia, including the islands. In spite of the arduous conditions of work, with great shortage of resources and very cramped space, Olga Oštrić, thanks to her dedicated work, was among the best ethnologists and the most informed people about the ethnology of northern Dalmatia. She shot two ethnological films with Andrija Stojanović: In the Footsteps of the Bukovac Herdsmen and Easter Customs in Novigrad. As she was the first and indeed only ethnologist in the National Museum in Zadar, for the museum was only just being founded, apart from collecting material, she also made expert studies of numerous items of costume, textiles, jewellery, domestic pottery, household inventory, weapons and published a number of specialised papers about them. Since she arrived in Zadar after the liberation and knew the history of the city, her mission also consisted of showing in the Ethnographic Museum the rich tradition and cultural identity and the fact that Zadar did truly belong to the body politic of Croatia.
She was actively at work in professional associations and establishments and was a member of various committees and councils. As well as working in the National Museum in Zadar, she also collected and purchased several hundred items for local museums in Biograd and Obrovac. In 1983 she put in order and furnished a permanent ethnographic display in the Local Museum in Obrovac, and in 1975 organised a very interesting ethnographic collection in Veli Iž (with more than 600 items). A bibliography of her writings was published in Zbornik Radova Olge Oštrić, printed in 2005 and published by the National Museum in Zadar. She obtained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the County of Zadar.
NB. Data taken from the questionnaire, material taken from the Personnel Archives of the MDC, and from an interview recorded on October 26, 2008.
From our library:
Others about the author