Ema and Emir Beslagic, eight-year-old twins, like to spend time in the mountains and ski. In addition to skiing, they also like to visit museums. Thus, three years ago, when they were only five years old, after a visit to the National Museum in Sarajevo, the idea of creating their own museum was born.
In anticipation of the opening of the renovated Olympic Museum in Sarajevo, they persuaded their grandfather through a game to build their own museum in the basement of their apartment in Jahorina. That’s how everything started. From ski passes to cardboard gondolas, today they have a setting that many can envy. In the small but very nice basement, invitations for all events, invitations for the opening and closing ceremonies, souvenirs, caps and hats, glasses, mugs, plates… Everything that reminds and was used during the Olympic Games in Sarajevo in 1984.
“The museum has no working hours, it is open when we are also in Jahorina (which is almost always, except when we are at school), and we will be very happy to go down the trail and take off our skis to welcome you in our story full of memories, love and of Olympic glory,” said Ema and Emir.
A museum in an apartment for Olympians
The twins’ mother, Esma Kreso (43), said that the apartments where their museum is located were designed and built as additional accommodation for athletes during the Olympic Games 40 years ago. It is symbolic that a museum dedicated to the Olympics was built in that very apartment.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we spent a lot of time in the National Museum because there were the fewest people there, and we were supposed to avoid contact. My grandfather was also an archaeologist and has some of his exhibits there. When Ema and Emir were about five years old, they told their grandfather that they would like a museum,” said Kreso.
And that’s how everything started, from the small wish of two children to a museum that arouses great interest of citizens.
“He immediately started working with them on it. They painted, built shelves, drew some exhibits, found something around the house, some old ski passes. However, when the grandfather boasted to his friends, then we started accepting donations of various exhibits,” Kreso pointed out.
After several media stories, even more people started coming forward wanting to donate an exhibit that they had kept for four decades.
“We bought some things, but about 90 percent of the things were given to us to take care of and keep them with a lot of love. In the museum, among the exhibits, there are official results printed from Bjelasnica, invitations for all events, invitations for the ceremony opening and closing times. We also received souvenirs and a hockey stick. We have caps and hats that were worn back then, a crystal small statue, glasses, cups, mugs, plates… From a house friend who was an ABC reporter from America, we got we are pictures from a private collection,” Kreso explained.
When they were thinking about building a museum, there were a lot of different ideas, what it should be about and in which direction they should act.
Proud of the collection
“There were more ideas. We love Jahorina and skiing. When they traveled from Sarajevo to Jahorina, they heard from my father about ciro trail, the railway, the Bistrica station, two-seaters, cable cars… However, everything revolved around skiing, Jahorina and some other things which are from history, specifically the Olympics. The son is a little more dedicated to the museum, and the daughter has some other interests. However, he lives for exhibits, cable cars, skiing… Other children play games, and he watches documentaries about that topic. They are pretty dedicated. I like that and I support them having a hobby and doing collecting,” says Kreso.
They are on the mountain every weekend, they spend their vacations there, but also part of the summer. As they started walking, they spent a lot of time on the mountains around Sarajevo.
Eight-year-old Emir toured the museum and showed the objects to the reporter team. On his face you could see the pride of everything he had collected in his museum.
“Once I asked my grandfather if we could build a museum and he agreed. We started building it three years ago. We started with Bistrica station and drawings,” said Emir.
The exhibits were donated to us by friends after hearing about the museum.
“We got a hockey stick, a cap, a Vucko radio, tickets, a watch, a cable car… My friends are proud of me and often come to the museum. My grandfather is sick now and can’t help me, but that’s why my mom is here,” stated Emir.
Even Emir’s sister Ema did not hide her delight.
“We’re on the mountain every weekend. We’re in the museum after skiing. I’m happy when I’m in the museum and when I see how many things we have,” explained Ema, AA writes.