The article highlights comparatively several major steps in producing national master narratives within museums of ethnography and folklore heritage in East Central and Southeastern Europe. Drawing references to different countries since the end of the nineteenth century; it analyzes the role of ethnographic museums in the production of narratives about ethno-cultural specificity of national communities and in organizing the visions of national pasts along the notions of the ‚Äúauthenticity‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúuniqueness‚ÄĚ of folklore traditions. The author points out the various initiatives in establishing such museums (imperial projects; nation-building agendas; cases of transferring examples from Western Europe; etc.) and outlines the influence that Herder‚Äôs ideas of the ‚ÄúVolk‚ÄĚ had for the people of East Central and Southeastern Europe in pursuing ideas of national identity through representations of folklore heritage. Tracing the main points in the appearance of ethnographic museums in this region; the latter are regarded as closely related to the symbolic construction of nations and as core elements of imagining national communities until today. In the context of newly emerging nation states in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; the interest in folklore traditions as repositories of national values appeared to be both an element of reasserting national specificity and an anchor of intransient cultural characteristics at the face of the evolving modernities and rapid social change. After a detailed attention to this function of ethnographic museums at the turn of the twentieth century; the article dedicated a separate attention to their input in maintaining policies of national representation during and after the communist regimes in the countries of East Central and Southeastern Europe ‚Äď with an emphasis on the ideological appropriation of the ideas of the ‚ÄúVolk‚ÄĚ in communist times and the revived interest in folklore heritage in contemporary world.