War Childhood Museum, Sarajevo

#2 of 41 in Museums in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Must see · Specialty Museum · History Museum
The War Childhood Museum (Bosnian: Muzej ratnog djetinjstva) is a historical museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina that opened in January 2017. The museum presents the experiences of children who lived through the war in Bosnia, told through objects, video testimonies, and excerpts from oral histories. The 2018 Council of Europe Museum Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the museum industry, was awarded to the War Childhood Museum as part of the 2018 European Museum of the Year Award.
The project began in 2010 when Jasminko Halilovic, a Sarajevan entrepreneur, activist, and “war child,” used an online platform to collect short recollections of young adults who had been children during the Bosnian war. Over 1,000 young adults submitted their memories. Halilovic assembled these recollections into a book which was published in 2013. The book has subsequently been translated into German and Japanese.
As Halilovic began corresponding with the young adults who submitted memories, he realized that many of the former “war children” still had specific objects that they connected with their memories. He began working with a team of other young professionals to develop a museum collection, eventually collecting over 3,000 objects and over 60 oral history testimonies.
In May 2016, the War Childhood Museum held its first, temporary exhibition at the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further exhibitions followed in the cities of Zenica and Visoko. In January 2017, the museum’s permanent exhibition opened on Logavina Street in Sarajevo.

The museum’s collections feature diaries, toys, photographs, items of clothing, and a variety of other objects donated by war survivors. All the items are presented alongside first-person recollections from the individual who donated them. In addition to the items, visitors can listen to testimonies and read snippets from oral history interviews.
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  • This is a beautiful and bittersweet museum just off the beaten path and is well worth visiting. It really rounded out my understanding of the 90’s war seeing it through this tangible perspective and.....  more »
  • This was without a doubt the best and most moving of all the museums and exhibitons I visited in Sarajevo, The War Childhood Museum aims to protect and preserve the memories of those children who...  more »
  • Really nicely put together. Very illuminating and touching. It was interesting to me because I remember when I was 14/15 years old and seeing the war in Sarajevo on the news. A lot of these memories were from my contemporaries, and it was interesting to learn through their eyes. If you’re only going to do a museum or two in Sarajevo, make it this one and the Tunnel of Hope.
  • Poignant museum, with 50 different items from children who experienced war (most from Bosnia, but not all). Each item is accompanied with a short story from the donator. Some of the items are positive memories, while others are a reminder of a young friend or sibling lost. Well worth a trip.

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