The 2018 Council of Europe Museum Prize – one of the most prestigious awards in the museum industry – has been awarded to the War Childhood Museum as part of the European Museum of the Year Awards.

The Council of Europe Museum Prize has been awarded annually since 1977 to a museum judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding of European cultural heritage. It involves recognition of the excellence displayed by the winning museums in the approach they take to museum work.

In their announcement, the Council of Europe describes the WCM as “a truly inspiring example of a grassroots initiative led by a charismatic young person, Jasminko Halilovic, who was himself a child during the four-year war siege of Sarajevo. As part of his own “healing process”, in 2010 he launched a short questionnaire on the internet and collected over 1,000 replies, which were initially edited in a book and later presented in this museum. Through powerful personal stories and objects associated with each story, this museum advocates peace, reconciliation, and the value of cultural diversity.”

“The War Childhood Museum, which is deliberately apolitical, aims to fill in an existing gap in documenting war experiences from the child’s perspective and therefore expands its research and collection across Bosnia and Herzegovina, among diaspora living abroad and also globally. The judging panel praised the museum’s real potential to serve as a powerful self-sustained model of civic initiative and said it offered an example that could be replicated in other major conflict and post-conflict zones in the world.

A judging panel of 13 experts, each from a different European country, awarded the WCM the CoE Museum of the Year out of 40 finalists from 22 countries. WCM has been presented with a bronze statuette, “La femme aux beaux seins” by Joan Miró, which the museum kept for a year. The prize has been presented at two ceremonies: first in Strasbourg in April 2018, then in Warsaw in May 2018 during the Annual Assembly of the European Museum Forum.

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The War Childhood Museum is an independent non-for-profit museum not funded by government. In addition to institutional donors and partners, the Museum has been receiving support from dedicated individuals and friends from its very opening. Become a friend and support the WCM.