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(Re)collection- 25 May Museum

Every day from 16 to 21 May at 6 pm tours/walks will be organised

As part of the event Museums of Serbia, Ten Days from 10 to 10, the Museum of Yugoslav History (MYH) is organising the programme titled (Re)collection – 25 May, in accordance with this year’s topic My Museum, My City, whose aim is to open the museum for a much greater and more creative cooperation with the local community. The idea of the programme (Re)collection is to review and make visible the value of the 25 May Museum, one of three buildings that make up the Museum of Yugoslav History complex. The autors of the project are Neda Knezevic, director of the MYH and Marija Djorgovic, curator of the MYH.

The 25 May Museum is the first building in Belgrade that was purpose-built with the idea to be a museum. Mika Mihailo Janković won at the exclusive invitation contest for the building of the museum at Botićeva Street, and the building was officially opened in 1962. It is little known that apart from the 25 May Museum, this architect left behind some of the most striking buildings in Belgrade – the Federal Executive Council or popularly called SIV (now the Palace of Serbia), the (Communist Party’s) Central Committee (Ušće Business Centre building), the Partizan stadium and the Sports Centre Tasmajdan.

The 25 May Museum, a horizontalist building of tense “wings” with a colonnade of massive pillars sculpted in the style of Le Corbusier on the ground floor, and light, airy and glassed corpus with a narrative mosaic in the middle of the face of the façade, is one of the most important examples of modern architecture in Belgrade. As a present of the City of Belgrade to Josip Broz Tito for his 70th birthday, the museum was built with the intention of exposing there, preserving and researching the gifts that were presented to Tito from all over Yugoslavia and abroad. Today this building provokes and causes opposing views of experts and the general public, both in terms of its artistic design and the values that are attached to it. By walking from the skyscrapers across the street from the building to the 25 May Museum, visitors will be able to grasp different ideas and values ​​that stand behind this building, but also to leave their comments and impressions on it. The experience will be complemented by the archival video material, a sound map of the museum’s neighbourhood and an available tactile scale model.

Every day from 16 to 21 May at 6 pm tours/walks will be organised with a guide that will allow participants to have a unique view from the roof of the skyscrapers across from the 25 May Museum, but also to get familiar with the many attractions that are related to the museum itself. The walk ends at the premises of the 25 May Museum, where visitors within the ambient setting will be able to watch the archival material, exhibits and photographs (of construction of the building, the opening of the museum, permanent exhibitions, Tito’s visits); and to get familiar with the specific features of the museum through interviews of its present and former experts and curators as well as people who were in any way involved in its construction; to pay careful attention to what their neighbours from the skyscrapers are saying, as well as to see and touch the scale model of the museum specially designed for this occasion. Due to the limited number of attendees, please apply for the tour at info@mij.rs or by phone 011/3671-485.

With a brochure that visitors can get at the entrance, they will be able to independently organise their visit to the 25 May Museum and find out some basic information about the context of its creation without the help of a guide.  

 During the ten days, workshops will be organised with different target groups, and the programme will be adapted and accessible to the blind and visually impaired persons.

 We are implementing this programme to mark the 40th anniversary since the death of Mihailo Mika Janković. With this programme, we aim to launch a debate not only on the work of Mika Janković and his contribution to the development of modern architecture in Yugoslavia, but also of modernism in general. Also, the idea is to re-examine the historical, artistic and symbolic value of the 25 May Museum, hear the opinions of experts, but also of those people to whom this setting is their everyday environment.  

 Partners on the project include DOCOMOMO Serbia, Faculty of Philosophy (Department of Ethnology and Anthropology and the Department of Art History) and the Faculty of Media and Communications. We owe special appreciation for cooperation to the residents of five skyscrapers across from the Museum of Yugoslav History and Mr. Ognjan Jovanović, president of the assembly of tenants living at Stjepana Filipovića 31 building.