Historijski muzej Bosne i Hercegovine
- History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina aims to collect, preserve, explore, present, and promote the cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From its establishment in 1945 until 1993, the Museum remained thematically focused on the history of anti-fascism during World War II and the cultivation of socialist state values. The name of the Museum, once Museum of the Revolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has changed several times, but it has always been recognizable. After being renamed the History Museum in 1993, the thematic structure of the Museum also changed. Now the aim is to study the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Middle Ages to present times.
The History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a unique cultural institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina which has become a space for dialogue about the past and different aspects of remembrance. The museum develops different programs and activities in order to help visitors talk about the past, present, and future through its collections.
The building of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina was designed in 1959 by Boris Magaš, Edo Šmidihen, and Radovan Horvat. It is a unique example of the international style in architecture; its dominant cube forms and clean lines stand out in the panorama of the city of Sarajevo.
Prof. Stjepan Roš wrote about the uniqueness and the architectural values of the Museum:
“The building of the Museum of the Revolution manifests the pure architecture of Mies van der Rohe. It is constructed of “boxes,” transparent and full. The glass-lined breathable skeleton stretches on a white stone pedestal, on which rests a full stone box. The neoplastic structure has the effect of lightness and balance and is reminiscent of El Lissitzky Proun. Spaces are extroverted, clearly oriented towards the inner garden. Nine columns — slender trees — contradict their own actual function because it looks like they break through and do not support. Free placement of walls gives the impression of moving billboards and an “open free plan.”
‘The exhibition rooms are cubic volumes that rise above an almost completely glazed ground,’ as he described the abstract, modernist building that is quite different from his later works.”
Archival and Other Holdings
The archival material the Museum has collected in previous decades has immeasurable value and importance for exhibits as well as for scientific research. It covers the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although it has a valuable collection of manuscript materials from the period 1875 to 1941, the most significant and largest of the Museum's holdings are related to the period of World War II. Equally important is the material from the socialist period, which is becoming increasingly important for studies in the light of new research and current issues (such as the culture of memory).
The content of the collections can be divided into two main groups of documents: archival documents and various printed materials. The first comprises of letters; decrees; reports; letters; regulations; notes; diaries; and operational plans. The second group includes leaflets; posters; charters; certificates; paper money; postage and revenue stamps; periodicals; brochures; albums; atlases; and others.
Material from the archive collection is particularly interesting for researchers who are dealing with the history of World War II as well as those who research the socialist period of Bosnian history. The complete structure of the Ustasha Surveillance Service, the most powerful police establishment of the Independent Croatian state during World War II, can be found in the collection and these materials have been used as standard source material for numerous scientific papers, doctoral theses, and publications of local and foreign researchers.
The collection of archival materials holds minutes and original decisions of the meetings of the First, Second, and Third ZAVNOBIH sessions (State Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Bosnia and Herzegovina), where the issue(s) of the organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina within federal Yugoslavia was resolved in the period from 1943 to 1945. Even today, current slogans like: “Neither Serbian nor Croatian nor Muslim, but Serbian and Croatian and Muslim (Bosnia and Herzegovina),” as well as November 25, the date celebrated as Independence Day in the country, arise from these documents stored at the Museum.
The Museum has a complete series of stamps, extremely valuable philatelic sub-collections, as well as significant holdings of paper money from the Ottoman kaima to BAM (Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark). A large number of anti-Semitic posters, postcards, and letters from concentration camps are interesting material for exhibition in thematic museum exhibitions, some of them are from beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The collection includes posters made by Ismar Mujezinović for the Olympic Games in Sarajevo in 1984.
The Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Conditions of Access
The museum material is classified in 8 museum collections and is available to scientific, cultural, and public researchers, students, and professors. The Museum is open for researchers every working day. Before starting research it is necessary to contact the head of the collection and complete a form in order to access museum holdings.
The History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina is located near the city center. Trams and buses stop near the museum, so it is easy to get to the museum from different parts. Public parking is available in front of the museum for a small fee. The museum is accessible to wheelchair users via a temporary ramp in front of the building. The museum is spread over two floors, but only the first floor is accessible to persons in wheelchairs. The museum provides a tactile area for people with visual difficulties. We are currently working on adapting the permanent museum displays for persons with visual and other disabilities. During the winter period the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina operates without heating. Visitors are advised to dress warmly.
There is a museum cafe, open public area (sometimes with an exhibition) and museum shop.
Website of the Museum: http://muzej.ba