After a period of intense economic crisis and war in the 1990s, Serbia has officially reopened its National Museum to the public as of June 2018.
The country’s main museum was closed due to neglect during the 1990s. After 15 years of renovating the building, Serbia’s key archaeological finds will once again be displayed in the halls for hundreds of citizens. The museum ushered in a crowd of hundreds by displaying a video of notable ballet dancer, Sergey Polunin, across the Republic Square in Belgrade.
The doors were reopened on June 28 to for a 24-hour opening day. Hundreds of people made their way to the site following the opening ceremony for the first time since 2003. The event even garnered important Serbian political figures, including the prime minister and other prominent officials.
The new remodeled museum features over 400,000 pieces ranging from prehistory up through the 20th century to the present day.
“It is rich in antiquities from the Stobi and Trebenista archaeological sites in Macedonia (former Yugoslavia), numismatics and Medieval art, including icons, frescos and the illuminated 12th-century Miroslav Gospel,” reports The Art Newspaper.
Originally founded in the late 17th century, the National Museum’s current opening drew much criticism regarding the setbacks and holds on its reconstruction.
This reopening is monumental in addressing cultural expression throughout the nation of Serbia. Some artists even took to calling the museum’s hiatus as a form of cultural genocide due to the lack of representation and slow call to action. This differs greatly from the United States’ construction efforts; the U.S. is listed as the second-largest market for construction across the globe.
The museum’s reconstruction featured a new facade and an ornate interior design. It has been reported the delays in revamping the building were due to political setbacks and financial issues.
The new museum collected pieces ranging across Europe and Asia. Up to 30 curators reportedly worked on the collection to get it ready for opening day.
This helped improve Serbia’s small contemporary art scene and serves as an important cultural boost after the period of turmoil throughout the 1990s.