When you think about visiting Dubrovnik, your bucket list includes the sights located in the Old City – such as the Walls, the Rector's Palace, Sponza Palace… But Dubrovnik has a lot to offer outside the historical core and from the spring of 2019 there will be one more interesting place to visit!
The Red History Museum is a new project in town. Located in the Carbon Graphite Products Factory - TUP premises in Gruz, the museum brings some new content that will help you to learn about the origins of the socialist idea and how it spread around the globe and to the area of today’s Croatia.
This trip through history is made possible by a team of young, motivated people, who have spent the last couple of months seeking the objects that will represent that period in Croatia all over the web and also on numerous fairs. They are: Kristina Mirosevic, Master of Design and setup author – as well as Tomi Soletic, the architect, Ivan Lujo, historian and co-author of the concept, followed by Nino Glavinic, co-author and Master of Media, Marko Mijatovic, Master of Light Design who is responsible for the design of the space, Hrvoje Margaretic, the famous Dubrovnik Storm Chaser, who is in charge for the visuals and Kreso Glavinic, coordinator.
Like every other great project, it all started with an idea
- We all involved in work that is connected to culture and creativity, so the idea came spontaneously. We think that that particular part of the history is not presented in Dubrovnik and in Croatia in general – only selectively, even though there are a lot more exhibitions on this theme compared to before. That’s why we decided to do it and we are coming close to realization – Kreso explains while we are sitting in the storage space full of interesting and unusual items that were a part of everyday life and now present pieces of the historical puzzle.
A museum with a clear story to tell
The project itself is not small, so there were some struggles along the road.
- It took a lot of our time, we had to work a lot, it’s not easy, but we took it step by step. We gathered a team that has a lot of qualities on different areas, overcame obstacles one by one and here we are – Kreso says.
Now that we have your interest, it's time to discover what guests will be able to see when visiting this, for Dubrovnik, really unique museum.
- There are three parts of the museum: socialism in the idea, socialism in practice, socialism in memory. First, in the idea part, it will be explained how it all came to Croatia and how it developed. Then, visitors go to an apartment and can see the objects together with their stories. For example, the liquor cabinet will tell the story about alcoholism, the growing number of women alcoholics during that period, what they drunk back then and how drinking was perceived. The double bed will tell the story about marriages, divorces, were there mixed marriages, etc. We will have infographics and it will all be very interactive. The next step is the dark room that tells the story about all the negative aspects which were well known, but also kept under the veil of secrets, such as the islands of Daksa and Goli Otok. For the last part, socialism in memory, we are inviting people to send us their memories, such as photos. While visitors go through our museum, they should make their own conclusions, we are not taking sides and giving our opinions – Kristina explains, while Kreso adds that with those three parts they want to bring some sort of basics and educate the public about communism and socialism and that they hope that the museum will make visitors want to learn and explore more, since they will see that this was one interesting period well worth their attention.
The Red History Museum will not only work as an exhibition space. There will also be a public library, movie projections and lectures, which will make it interesting to the locals and tourists.
- The idea is to make something like a ''time capsule''. We needed a team of creative people to start it all and now we hope that visitors will love it, donations will come and the fundus will grow. Then maybe the Yugoslavian taboo will not be taboo anymore, it will become mainstream – adds Tomi.
From interest to threats - reactions are pouring in
Picking through this particular part of Croatian history can be tricky, so we wondered if they had already received some reactions.
- Yes, we have! – Nino says while the whole crowd laughs.
- There were supportive comments, but there were some negative ones too. They cursed us and threatened to bury us… But there are many more people that praise us and we hope that it will stay that way. A great number of people want to be a part of this and are sending messages on Facebook about items they have at home that we might find useful. For now, we have a great cooperation with the community – Nino explains and invites everybody to visit the museum when it's opened and make their own conclusions about it. Also, if they have any insecurities, they are more than welcome to send their questions on the official e-mail or Facebook page.
One of the positive things is, as mentioned, that the museum is located outside the City core.
- That is maybe the most interesting part of it all, the position and the building where we are placed, at the space with its socialist history, that is going through the process of reprogramming. Young people are coming with interesting content and the TUP building is changing day by day. I hope that it will only grow and one day become a creative hub. That should be interesting to the citizens and visitors and send a message that Dubrovnik lives – Tomi explains and Kreso adds that the good thing of being away from the Old City is being able to enrich the offer far from the crowds. Kristina added that their goal is to bring that one part of Croatian history, that can be used like sort of the prequel to the Homeland War Museum.
The Red History Museum should be opened during the spring of 2019 and the team invites you to share your stories, objects and memories from that period in Croatia and if not – to visit them and make your own Dubrovnik memories.