Blue dyes, especially ones made from the indigo plant, have been used to colour textiles for thousands of years. In Hungary and other parts of eastern Europe dyeing and printing in blue-and-white patterns became part of folk costumes. UNESCO recognises the tradition as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The textiles were produced in small workshops from the seventeenth century, then in larger workshops.
The Kékfestő Museum at Pápa in western Hungary occupies the workshops built by Ferencz Kluge in the 1860s to grow his long-established family business. By the First World War it employed 50 people. In 1959 the entire contents were preserved and the buildings opened as a museum in 1962. The cellars include the washing room and the dyeing room with large vats into which textiles were lowered on metal frames. Upstairs are a room where patterns were printed with wooden blocks and an attic for drying. Nearby are the machinery for calendering fabrics and a steam engine that powered the workshops by belt-drives. Exhibition spaces show documents, photographs and artefacts, including beautiful displays of printing blocks and textiles. A shop sells products made from the blue patterned fabrics.