Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Zagreb City Museum

Echoes from the Battlefield

Until March 15th, the Zagreb City Museum will be the venue for the exhibition “Echoes from the Battlefield – Zagreb in the First World War”. The exhibition has been set up to commemorate the globally observed 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.
Although Zagreb was not on the front lines in the Great War, as it is called in many countries across the world, its terrible consequences left a trace on many of Zagreb’s citizens. Therefore, not only does the exhibition reconstruct historic events, but it also provides an insight into the destinies of the victims of these atrocious events. The exhibition features around four hundred items from the First World War, most of which are part of the holdings of the Zagreb City Museum, while some were borrowed from other museums. Some interesting, privately owned items of great historic value have not been on public display before.
The exhibition consists of several sections. The introductory part, gives a glimpse of Zagreb in the early 20th century; its economic, technical and cultural achievements, as well as the most important social and political events of the time. After that, visitors are immersed into the focal aspect of the exhibition – the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914, which triggered the First World War and lead to the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. On public display for the first time and featured in the exhibition is an authentic item belonging to one of the victims – a pair of gloves worn by the duchess at the time of the assassination. The gloves are currently owned by her descendant, whose grandfather was an Austro-Hungarian soldier who spent much of his service in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was there at the time of the assassination and he received the gloves as a gift, which was not unusual at the time because important people were often awarded as a sign of gratitude and in remembrance of significant historic events, which explains why the gloves have never been on public display before.
The exhibition also shows what life was like in Zagreb during the war and how its citizens tried to cope with poverty and insecurity whilst tending to the wounded and disabled, but there was also a nicer facet… Despite the poverty, the first local feature film was made in Zagreb at the time, and many exhibitions by local artists were organized…

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