February 8, 2013 - CULTURESHUTDOWN - Public call: Day of Museum Solidarity
February 8, 2013

Public call: Day of Museum Solidarity

Left: Entrance doors of the 125-year-old National Museum in Sarajevo. October 2012. Photo: Meral Balota, 2012. © Anadolu Agency. Right: Azra Aksamija, Mona Lisa Erased, 2013. Photomontage. Logo design: Jegan Vincent de Paul.

Public call: Day of Museum Solidarity – March 4

Call on museums and galleries across the globe to
demonstrate solidarity with threatened Bosnian cultural institutions

February 20: Sign up to participate
March 1: Take action, upload image
March 4: Promote the collective action

Dr. Azra Aksamija and the international platform CULTURESHUTDOWN.net


To representatives of museums and galleries worldwide:

I ask you to participate in an important international cultural awareness campaign. This campaign is a reaction to the acute crisis affecting major cultural institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On October 4, 2012, after 124 years of existence, the country’s National Museum (Zemaljski Muzej) closed down due to the government’s failure to secure legal status and adequate funding. Your solidarity is needed!

Six other state-level institutions, including the National Art Gallery (Umjetnička Galerija BH) and the National and University Library (Nacionalna i Univerzitetska Biblioteka BH) are also about to become permanently inaccessible. The safety of precious artifacts and heritage are at stake.

Why am I doing this? I am one of the founding members of the platform CULTURESHUTDOWN, an international initiative connecting scholars, artists and cultural producers responding to this crisis. Cultural institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina are keepers of the unique historical and cultural treasures that provide evidence of coexistence in the region. Preserving them is crucial for securing a sustainable peace.  Artifacts kept in these institutions are an important component of the world’s cultural heritage. Preserving them is a matter of global relevance.

I call on you and other museums across the globe to demonstrate your solidarity with threatened Bosnian cultural institutions by symbolically “erasing” one precious artwork or artifact, rendering it inaccessible for the Day of Museum Solidarity. How?

On March 1, I ask you to place the yellow barricade tape in front of the chosen object (ranging from a dinosaurs skeleton to a painting, depending on your collection and your choice). I will provide this custom-designed non-adhesive tape featuring the CULTURESHUTDOWN logo. Take a picture of the “crossed out” object and send it to me. The “crossed out” artifact should be publicly visible in your institution from March 1–3. The collected pictures of Museum Solidarity across the world will be posted on the CULTURESHUTDOWN website on Monday March 4, the scheduled Day of Museum Solidarity. As many museums are closed on Mondays, our global campaign will take the form of a virtual collective exhibition on the CULTURESHUTDOWN website. We would appreciate it if you were to post images of this campaign or host this virtual group exhibition on your institutions’ website, should that be possible.

February 1, the date of this public call, marks the 125th Anniversary of Zemaljski Muzej’s existence. March 4, the date of this Day of Museum Solidarity, marks the six-month anniversary of the Zemaljski Muzej’s closure.

This crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina requires political, economic, and institutional solutions. By participating in the Day of Museum Solidarity, you will make an important and much needed contribution to resolving this crisis.

This call is supported by CIMAM and more than 40 museums, galleries and universities across the globe. Join us!

To participate, please follow the simple directions provided on CULTURESHUTDOWN website.

In solidarity,
Dr. Azra Aksamija for CULTURESHUTDOWN

Azra Aksamija, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Program in Art, Culture and Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
E-Mail: info [​at​] cultureshutdown.net

For more information see:
List of cultural Institutions in crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina–with status updates
Mapping the status quo—The summary of feedback by representatives of the affected institutions
List of Institutions participating in the “Day of Museum Solidarity”

The content of this public call is developed based on the research and input of CULTURESHUTDOWN contributors. Many thanks to Ljerka Dublić, Toshiro Ihara, Jasmin Mujanović, Dietmar Offenhuber, Susan Pearce, James Thomas Snyder, Jeff Spurr and Floor van de Velde for helping to develop and promote this campaign. CULTURESHUTDOWN logo designed by Jegan Vincent de Paul. The Logistics are funded (in part) by a Director’s Grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT, for which we are very grateful. Special thanks to CIMAM and all individuals and institutions supporting this campaign!


Public call: Day of Museum Solidarity
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