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WAR DAMAGES TO MUSEUMS AND MUSEUM HOLDINGS IN CROATIA
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KNIN
Knin Museum

22300 Knin
Tvrdjava b.b.
Telephone: 023/560 773
Fax: 023/562 151
Museum profile: regional
Founded: 1973


Category of the museum collection: C
Category of the museum building: B
Number of inventoried museum items: 337
Number of non-inventoried museum items: 2320
Microfilmed museum inventories: no
In 1887 friar Lujo Marun had founded the Croatian Antiquities Society in Knin. The Society had occupied itself with archaeological explorations of ancient sites. In 1893 the Society had founded the Central Museum of Croatian Monuments in Knin. In 1942 the exhibits were evacuated to Sinj, and after the Second World War transferred to Split, where the museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments is located.
A museum in Knin was again founded in 1973, and housed in the Old Town Fortress, one of the largest and most valuable monuments of its kind in Dalmatia. The building of the fortress was started in the ninth century. The Middle Ages had brought additions, and further additions were made in the Turkish period (16th to 17th centuries) and the Venetian period (17th to 18th centuries). Until 1991 the permanent exhibition was divided in some of the refurbished buildings inside the fortress which was undergoing reconstruction. The museum holdings consist of an archaeological, ethnographic palaeonthological and fine arts collection, as well as a collection of recent history and a library.
From September of 1991 to August 1995, the Museum was on the occupied territory of the Republic of Croatia, inaccessible to museum workers and agencies for the protection of monuments.

Protection:

Reports on the condition and protection of museum holdings were not submitted.
INFORMATION ON THE MUSEUM DURING THE OCCUPATION
* In the powder magazine of the fortress, a jail was housed until the arrival of UNPROFOR.
* In May of 1994 Mr Robert Fisk, a reporter for The Independent, had visited the Museum and gained information from Mojko Budimir, director, on the Ivan Mestrovic collection and archives from the Drnis Regional Museum.
* According to a report by the Monitoring Mission of the EU and Dr Colin Kaiser, expert advisor to the Council of Europe, who were in Knin in June of 1994, the Museum is only partially operational. The holdings from the Drnis Museum are stored in the fortress (ethnographic collection, library and the Mestrovic collection).
* According to the report from June 1994 submitted by Dr Colin Kaiser, expert counsellor to the Council of Europe, the ethnographic collection has been opened in a new department, and activities on the adaptation of the building for the archaeological collection have been stopped during the war, while the collection of material from National Liberation movement is stored in the storeroom. Apart from the director, the museum has an archaeologist, ethnologist, conservator and three other workers. The archives from the Knin Franciscan monastery and parts of the archaeological collection from Plitvice were also stored in the museum. The most important is the collection transferred from the Drnis Regional Museum (408 objects), the library and ethnographic collection, as well as a part of the Ivan Mestrovic collection (25 sculptures and 5 paintings), of which 7 paintings had disappeared during the war. M. Budimir had reported the disappearance to the local police.
* After the liberation of Knin on August 5 1995, the museum buildings on the fortress were for a couple of days occupied by the Croatian Army.
The information received was mostly confirmed. Holdings from Drnis, stored in the fortress, were returned to Drnis. It is certain that a number of items from the Knin museum are missing and the number of destroyed and damaged items has not yet been ascertained.

Building damage:


The building had suffered no significant damage, but almost all of the entrance doors had been forced and devastated.
A large number of lightning equipment has been destroyed. Photographic laboratory equipment is mostly destroyed or had disappeared, as well as the equipment and tools for work in the field.
All the rooms were found to be in disorder and dirty.

Structure damage:


Because of the complete lack of organisation and the lack of documentation prior to the war, as well as the missing inventory numbers on the holdings that were found, professional workers at the museum are encountering problems with the revision of museum collections. What is certain is that a certain number of museum items is missing. Copies of the old Croatian finds from the Knin region as well as a certain number of numismatic items have also disappeared. A receipt confirming the delivery of archaeological items from the Burnum site for restoration in the Belgrade National Museum has been found.

Damaged collection details►

The Knin Municipal Museum.
The holdings of The Drnis museum deposited in Knin, 8/95
(Photo: Branka Sulc)

The Knin Municipal Museum
The holdings of the Drnis Museum deposited in Knin, 8/95
(Photo: Branka Sulc)

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