The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina celebrates its 132nd birthday on Saturday with a free entrance to the Museum between 10:00 and 22:00 hours.

National Museum is considered one of the most important scientific-educational and cultural institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is the oldest western-style, contemporary cultural and scientific institution in the country.

The Museum itself was founded in 1888, while the idea of establishing it dates back to mid-19th century, when Bosnia and Herzegovina was still a part of the Ottoman Empire. However, it took four decades and the change in government for the idea to be implemented.

As an uncharted Balkan country, Bosnia and Herzegovina piqued the interest of many Austro-Hungarian scholars, but also pseudo-scholars and treasure hunters and as a result, many cultural artefacts were taken out of the country.

This accelerated the implementation of the idea to establish a museum and the Museum Society was established first, then the National Museum itself, on February 1, 1888. Advisor to the provincial government Kosta Hörmann was appointed as the first Director of the museum.

Due to growing collection, construction of new museum complex - comprising of four pavilions and botanic garden - started in 1909 and the new building was opened in 1913. For a long time, the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina remained the only purpose-built museum complex in the former Yugoslavia.

The announcement of the birthday celebration underlines that over the past several years, the Museum is faced with political reality of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the Museum staff is determined to maintain and improve the tradition of the Museum.

Program on February 1 includes exhibition of the original Sarajevo Haggadah and the exhibition ‘Ex libris Bibliothecae Musei Nationalis Bosnae et Hercegovine’, as well as several expert and scientific lectures. Panel discussion ‘Necessity or luxury? National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina 1888-2020’ will take place at 18:00 hrs, with Director of the MESS Festival Nihad Kresevljakovic, journalist and publicist Dragan Bursac and President of the Tourist Association of Sarajevo Azra Dzigal as guest speakers and Acting Director of the Museum Mirsad Sijaric as the keynote speaker.

Summaries of the lectures will be available at Museum’s website and social network accounts.