The museum grew out of a research project by founder and director Jasminko Halilović, a young Sarajevan who, in 2010, called on people to send short answers to the question, “What was your war childhood like?”
His goal was to write a book on the war experiences of Sarajevo children and engender an awareness among adults of the responsibility they have in creating a better world for youngsters.
War Childhood: Sarajevo 1992-1995
Inspired by the large number of stories and war-time memories of his peers, he came up with the concept of the War Childhood Museum in 2012, with the aim of preserving children’s war-time experiences and presenting them to the world.
The long-awaited illustrated book, War Childhood: Sarajevo 1992-1995, which tells the author’s own story and those of generations that grew up during the war, came out in early 2013, and has been translated into many languages.
While promoting his book at the European Parliament that year, Doris Pack, President of the European Cultural Commission, said: “I applaud Mr. Halilović’s efforts to make sure that we do not forget this recent period of European history.”
In 2015, Halilović formed a team to create a museum collection that would document the experience of children – those who have no influence over how wars are started, but bear the brunt of their consequences.
The WCM’s vision is to help people overcome traumas and prevent others from being traumatized, while striving for mutual understanding, reconciliation and personal and social development.
Museum of the Year
After opening in January 2017, the museum gained worldwide media attention. It now works with top universities and museums, and is recognized as one of the most innovative and dynamic new facilities on Europe’s museum scene.
The WCM received the 2018 Council of Europe Museum Prize (EMYA), which recognizes excellence in museum practice and contributions made to the presentation of European heritage. It was also a finalist for the 2018 European Museum Academy’s annual award and received special recognition for the 2019 Živa Award for Best Slavic Museum.
The WCM does research, curates exhibits and educates; it’s currently realizing projects in BiH, as well as in Lebanon, Serbia, Ukraine and the USA; and is slowly becoming an international platform for researching and presenting the experiences of those who have grown up during war, while creating the world’s largest archive on this topic.
Located at Logavina 32, formerly Dom Kulture, the WCM works every day (except Jan. 1) from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. There is free admission on the last Thursday of every month (5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.).