Cultural institutions from across Europe, the US, Asia and Australia sent photos of their exhibits bound with tape for an online gallery demonstrating support for the Bosnian National Museum on Monday, six months after it closed because of financial problems.
The gallery ‘exhibits’ represented a visual tribute to the Bosnian museum, whose doors were nailed shut with planks in October 2012.
“This campaign is a reaction to the acute crisis affecting major cultural institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Cultureshutdown, the campaign group that organised Monday’s ‘Day of Museum Solidarity’, said on its website.
More than 200 museums and galleries worldwide staged a symbolic show of solidarity with the Bosnian National Museum, which was closed to the public last October.
Cultureshutdown said that the museum had “closed down due to the government’s failure to secure legal status and adequate funding”.
Its project also aims to help six other state cultural institutions which have no secure sources of financial support, including the National Art Gallery and the National and University Library.
“The safety of precious artifacts and heritage are at stake,” Cultureshutdown warned.
The Bosnian National Museum, which had been open for 124 years, closed after a long battle with financial difficulties.
Since the Dayton peace accords ended the Bosnian war in 1995, the government has not established new legal and funding status for the country’s seven major cultural institutions, and no ministry of culture exists at the state level.
Most financing decisions are made by the country’s two political entities, the Serb-led Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation.
For the past 16 years, the main cultural institutions have been financed from a variety of budgets, by the cantonal and entity ministries of culture and the state ministry of civil affairs.