Bosnian citizens have been invited to become volunteer museum guards at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, which closed three years ago.
Volunteer museum guards will work alongside former museum employees who still turn up to work to help conserve the exhibits, despite not receiving any salary since 2012. Shifts last from 10am to 6pm, and require ten to 15 people.
The volunteering initiative is part of a wider campaign called “I am the Museum”, aimed at highlighting not only the challenges the museum faces, but also its continued survival, despite being officially closed.
“This shows that people have not forgotten about the museum and that they are not simply walking past its closed doors,” said Ines Tanović Sijerčić, one of the campaign organisers. She also revealed that there has been a huge response to the campaign, particularly among families whose children were not able to visit the museum while it was open.
Founded in 1888, the National Museum struggled to survive during the peacetime that followed the violent inter-ethnic conflict of the 1990s, bereft of funding as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two semi-autonomous regions, the Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation, started to promote their own culture and history, and began to largely reject the notion of Bosnia and Herzegovina possessing national institutions.