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Employees and activists of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

©Ziyah Gafić

©Ziyah Gafić

Location of the initiative:

BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, Sarajevo


Relation to Strategy 21 Recommendations:

S1 - Encourage the involvement of citizens and local authorities in capitalising on their everyday heritage


Brief description of the initiative:

The Museum is home to over 4 million artefacts making it one of the largest and most important museum collections in South East Europe. Following the formation of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, the government was unable to reach an agreement regarding the financing and upkeep of the National Museum. Deprived of public funding and support, the Museum shut its doors in 2012, partly from necessity and partly to draw public attention to the Museum’s troubles. However, despite the closure, the employees continued to come to work every day over the following three years without pay. They guarded the Museum night and day in poor conditions, protected the collection from intruders, cared for the artifacts as best they could and saved the building from decay by carrying out routine maintenance tasks. For this reason, AKCIJA, an independent cultural NGO based in Sarajevo, in collaboration with photographer Zijah Gafić who made powerful portraits of the Museum's workers, launched the campaign “I am the Museum” (“Ja sam Muzej”).


Objectives of the initiative:

  • Raise awareness about the protection by unpaid employees of  collections of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Raise awareness across the region and Europe as a whole and to bring the Museum’s difficult circumstances back to the top of the agenda of the decision-makers at state level.
  • Obtain the political and financial support for the re-opening of the Museum and ensure the museum’s survival.

Brief assessment of the initiative’s results:

The large-scale, cross-border civic campaign received massive support from the public and the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond, influencing policy at a state level. The Museum re-opened in September 2015 with a guarantee of public funding until 2018.


Online resources:


Contact:

AKCIJA (independent cultural NGO)

Kaptol 5
71000 Sarajevo
Bosna i Hercegovina

Ms Aida Kalender
aida.kalender@akcija.org.ba


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