Muzej susjedstva Trešnjevka (“Trešnjevka Neighbourhood Museum”) responds to the challenge of representation and commercialisation of museums. National museum collections are often cleansed from history written from below. Museums are hierarchical and elite institutions, which many communities do not feel represented. Public finance cuts in the arts have also forced museums to commercialise their collections by focusing on tourism and away from the local community.
Trešnjevka Neighbourhood Museum
2,000 Euro Prize 2020
Region: City of Zagreb
Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy
Fields of action: Culture, Urban development
Project owner: BLOK – Lokalna baza za osvježavanje kulture
Responsible person: Dunja Kučinac
Neighbourhood museums built with the participation of the local community are new in Croatia. Muzej susjedstva Trešnjevka works directly with the neighbourhood community who curate the collection to manage the museum. The museum archives the diverse histories of the Trešnjevka neighbourhood, while challenging dominant national history and narratives.
Partner organisations and the neighbourhood community are both involved. Partnering organisations help to conduct research and facilitate community participation. The community creates the virtual collection; they collect and share personal narratives/contributions, as well as manage the museum.
The project aims to establish a neighbourhood museum that celebrates and preserves the diverse and everyday histories of workers, antifascism, women, and migration of Trešnjevka. Muzej susjedstva Trešnjevka brings the local community into focus; it defies the status quo and hierarchical practices of founding and managing cultural institutions.
The neighbourhood museum concept can be transferred to other cities and local communities. This process can include creating and conceptualising neighbourhood museums in collaboration with Muzej susjedstva Trešnjevka.
Muzej susjedstva Trešnjevka curates a museum as a social innovation. Unlike conventional museums, which are usually elitist or consumerist, this neighbourhood museum is democratically founded and managed by the community of Trešnjevka, one of Zagreb’s largest neighbourhoods. The collection’s objects, images, and stories defy the dominant national narratives by focusing on suppressed themes and diverse histories of Trešnjevka: migration, anti-fascist, workers’, and women’s movements.