Sarajevo, September 15, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
Three years ago, employees of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina were unable to find a way to proceed with their efforts to keep this historical institution open for visitors and were forced to lock its doors. Additionally and symbolically, they nailed planks across the door. They, in fact never abandoned their posts, however, and continued to work without pay, in order to protect the treasure hidden in public exhibitions and in the building’s cellar.
Today, Tuesday September 15, children from Sarajevo, East Sarajevo and Pale broke the blockade and reopened the Museum in a public ceremony, which was attended by several hundreds of state officials, ambassadors and citizens. The museum is again serving the public and, at this moment it seems like it will be open for a long time. Before the ceremony, representatives of relevant ministries in entities and on state level together with several other institutions, signed the Memorandum of understanding which provide a better financial support to cultural institutions in BiH. Chairman of BiH Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, said on the ceremony that BiH has been waiting this event for three long years.
“The National Museum is the national asset of all citizens. It keeps several millions of exhibits, which are telling the story of BiH heritage. I expect that everybody in this country will have that in mind in the future”, Zvizdic said on the ceremony in Museum’s Botanical Garden.
He called on all cultural workers to support the existence of the Museum, in order to ensure its work in full capacity and to make sure to avoid that any museum in BiH faces closure.
US Ambassador in BiH, Maureen Cormack announced that the Embassy will support the Museum with more than 500,000 Euros for the restoration of the building.
“Also, I am honoured to announce that the Institute of the museum network from Washington will send its experts to help this institution”, Cormack announced.
She also said that the children who symbolically reopened the Museum, until today, didn’t have the chance to visit it. Now, as she said, they can come and see the treasures that have been preserved in the Museum.
However, the jolly atmosphere of the event was disrupted when Museum manager, Adnan Busuladzic, announced that he resigned from this post. In an emotional speech, Busuladzic said that his first task was to save the Museum from destruction.
“I have been working here for free. I have a contract of one BAM monthly (0,5 Euros) but never took a single “salary”, Busuladzic said.
The reopening came after young people from entire BiH begun the humanitarian action “Save the Museum” and organised the public to come and spend a day in the building to show that the Museum can operate. The call for action was recognized by citizens and a large number of politicians, as well as representatives of the international community.
The fact is that reopening means a lot for citizens but, at the same time, the situation will not be better if citizens and tourists fail to come in larger number to see what the Museum exhibitions have in store for them. To be on state budget is a very unstable situation and the only way that a better future for an institution such as this can be achieved is by being able to fund itself.