Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Eastern Europe chapter Bosnia has to say about the War Childhood Museum:
“War Child Museum is a fascinating new museum focusing on the experiences of children who grew up during the 1990s conflict. Poignantly personal items donated by former war children, such as diaries, drawings and ballet slippers, are displayed alongside written and video testimonies.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
When we decided we would once again make an attempt to visit the Adriatic Coast, I very much wanted to include Bosnia and Hercegovina in the itinerary because of all the historic events that have taken place in Sarajevo; many very bloody, and others, like the Olympic Games in 1984, very uplifting.
However, once we arrived and we found there were at least four major museums that focused on the Civil War that tore the former Yugoslavia apart from 1991 to 1995. I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to see each and every one. We are both old enough to remember following the news of the terrible genocide visited on the people of the Balkans, and our daughter and son were similar ages to many of the children who were forced to endure the four-year siege of Sarajevo.
After learning that the War Childhood Museum had won the Council Of Europe Museum Prize for 2018, and that the exhibits focused on the stories of the survivors of the siege, I was much more willing to see it for myself. When we entered, we were greeted by very enthusiastic young adults who explained the inspiration behind the museum, and the book that inspired its inception.
They pointed out that there was a quiet space available after we toured the exhibits and that there were copies of the book if we wanted to stay for a while and look through the book at our leisure. Most of the copies were in the local language, but there was one English edition so that we could appreciate the quotes inside.
Needless to say, our visit to the museum was very worthwhile, and it shed a light on the impact that the war had on the children. There weren’t any photographs of the individuals who contributed their belongings and their memories to the exhibits, just the first names and the year of their birth. I think in this way, the children’s stories remained slightly anonymous and/or universal, not only for the Balkan children, but for any children caught up in the atrocities of wartime.