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Bosnia's National Museum closes after 124 years

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 10:48 am •  Published: October 4, 2012

Bosniaks, meanwhile, say safeguarding the shared history of the Bosnian people is one way to keep the country unified and it was they who scrambled to beg for funds from several ministries. With Europe's debt crisis dragging into a third year, those ministries have no more reserves to tap into now.

To prevent the museum from closing, several students chained themselves to a pole in the lobby and remained inside, declaring they will stay there until the problem is solved and the museum reopens. Dozens of others held a sit-in in front of the building, many refusing to believe that it was truly closing.

"We want this museum to stay open. Tourists are coming to our city, they want to see our culture and history. How? How? All the institutions of culture are closed here," said protester Nihad Alickovic. "Is this a deeper game? To destroy the history of this country? They all should be ashamed because of this."

Bosnia's National Gallery and its Historical Museum closed down earlier this year. With the National Museum's closure, four other cultural institutions are still struggling: The Institute for Monument Protection, the Bosnian Art Gallery, the Bosnian National Theater and another small museum.

For an entire year, the National Museum's 65 employees still came to work every day without being paid. As she left the building Thursday, museum librarian Andrea Dautovic said the issue was not even about her not having a job any more — it was about what Bosnia has lost in the process.

"What will happen with future generations who now are losing this cultural jewel?" she said.