The project “Preventive conservation of the collections of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which was started in 2015 and funded in part by two large grants totaling over USD 1 million from the United States’ Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, was presented today in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
All activities on the project, which was completed today, are related to preventive conservation, the goal of which is to prevent, stop or slow down the deterioration of museum materials by introducing high standards of protection and creating optimal conditions for their preservation. The project was implemented by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and consisted of two phases.
The Ambassador of the United States of America to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Michael Murphy, pointed out that these repairs made it possible for the main pavilion to house safely this impressive permanent exhibition of prehistoric artifacts.
“Collections like those here in this museum and other heritage sites across the country are a testament to the rich culture and history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to all the people who have called it home. Too often in Bosnia and Herzegovina heritage is used as a tool to divide the country. This is both irresponsible and wrong,” said the ambassador.
For the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, this heritage is shared and part of a common history whether you live in Banja Luka, Sarajevo, or Mostar.
“We marvel at the glories of the Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque, the lineage of Tvrdos Monastery, which sits on the foundations of a fourth-century Roman church, and the beauty of the walled city and fortress of Jajce, a place that features prominently throughout the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Indeed, these sites and many others belong to all the people of this country, as do the exhibits in this hall,” he pointed out.
The Ambassador emphasized that the past cannot be changed and that historical facts, especially those that belong to the common history, are firmly established.
He said that recognizing, protecting, and celebrating all elements of a country’s shared cultural heritage can also contribute to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ongoing efforts of reconciliation.
Chairman of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, Zoran Mikulić, said that the activities carried out were in accordance with the recommendations of experts from the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, one of the most famous research centers that includes 19 museums under the administration of the US Government, and that they were aimed at improving the resistance of all four museum buildings to the risks of fire, floods and negative environmental impacts.
Director of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirsad Sijarić, said that he was pleased to welcome the day when the multi-year project ends.
He reminded that the project was realized after the museum was closed because the employees did not receive a salary for four years.
After that, he added, the US Embassy launched an initiative to solve the problem, which was the last signal to do something with the cultural treasures of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As part of the first phase, which lasted from 2015 to 2019, the roofs over the Department of Prehistory and its interior, as well as the wall and ceiling paintings in the Department of Prehistory were restored.
Also, by installing modern video surveillance systems at the museum’s facilities, with a total of 104 external and internal cameras and anti-burglary sensors, security against theft and vandalism has been significantly improved.
As part of the second phase, from 2019 to 2022, improvements to the building’s structure, storage for artifacts, and updates to the electrical, water, security, and sewage systems have been done.