Italian experts from Rome’s High Institute for conservation and restoration (Iscr) are helping Bosnian colleagues preserve the collections of the Sarajevo National Museum, providing equipment and know-how.
Restoring cultural heritage in Sarajevo
Experts from Iscr set up a Center for restoration of cultural heritage in the ethnically divided Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Zemaljski Muzej of Sarajevo, the biggest in the country, reopened last September after a three-year closure due to lack of funding. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has funded the project and carried it out with the cooperation of the Italian ministry of Culture, of which Iscr is part. Italian experts will offer training in the restoration of prehistoric artifacts to the staff of Sarajevo’s museum as part of the project. The museum’s management is trying to regain its former status and take the lead in cultural conservation and restoration in Bosnia.
Four million artifacts in the 128-year-old museum
Before Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, the 128-year-old museum, containing 4 million artifacts in its departments of archaeology, ethnology and natural sciences, and in its library, was among the largest in former Yugoslavia. It trained generations of specialized staff but ran into difficulties when Bosnia split along ethnic lines and the country’s Serbs refused to finance it.
Facilitate dialog through culture
The Italian project has the aim of creating local capacity and enabling local experts at the museum to work continuously on collections. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Zemaljski Muzej Center for restoration of cultural heritage was held in Sarajevo at the presence of Donatella Cavezzali, director of the Advanced Training School of Iscr, Bosnian authorities and Italy’s ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ruggero Corrias. “Our hope and our wish with this project is to facilitate a new dialog between communities and to present culture as a way for everyone to share values and work together”, says Dr. Cavezzali.