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After 124 years of existence, the Bosnian National Museum was shut down due to financial problems and wooden planks were nailed over its main entrance.
|Photo by Elvira M. Jukic / Balkan Insight|
The management of the National Museum decided to shut down the institution on October 4 after years of struggle with financial problems.
Around hundred people gathered to say goodbye to one of Sarajevo’s landmarks. A group of young people tried to prevent the closure by chaining themselves to the pillars in the museum but they were removed so they continued their protest outside.
The director of the National Museum, Adnan Busuladzic, told the gathered citizens that the museum would file motion before Bosnia’s State Court to determine which institution is responsible for its financing.
“Cash for salaries and utilities has to be given by some level of government,” Busuladzic said.
The museum’s wartime director, Enver Imamovic, said that it is a shame that the institution, which remained open during the war, is closing now.
“This is a shame, the museum was never closed, it used to work even during the war,” Imamovic said.
Bosnia has already lost its national art gallery this year. And campaigners say at least five other cultural institutions are at risk.
|photo by Elvira M. jukic / Balkan Insight|
Right now there is not agreement in the country who should finance the seven most important cultural institutions because the most decisions on financing are made at the level of the country's two entities, the Bosnian Serb led Republika Srpska and Bosniak-Croat Federation, and these cultural institutions are considered to be at the state-level.
After the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in 1995, the government never established the new legal and funding status for the country’s cultural institutions.
For the past 16 years, Bosnia’s cultural institutions have been financed from a variety of budgets, the cantonal and entity ministries of culture and the State Ministry of Civil Affairs. However there is no ministry of culture at the state level.
Bosnia's Historical Museum has closed its doors to visitors and researchers, citing growing debts as uncertainty over its funding continues.
Donors spent hundreds of thousands of euro building a new museum in Gjirokastra - but the results were questionable and it ultimately closed over an ideological dispute.