The website of the Zagreb Neighbourhoods project implemented by the Zagreb City Museum summarizes twelve years of activities within this interdisciplinary, exhibition and research-based project lasting from 2009 to summer 2021.
The activities implemented within the Project – street, research-based and thematic exhibitions as well as other events and accompanying publications – are shortly described and presented in documentary material and the selection of texts in this virtual space/museum.
This also includes the Neighbourhood Stories virtual exhibition with a selection of the materials collected during the Project.
The Zagreb Neighbourhoods project began in 2009 with the preparation of the research-based exhibition Half a Century of Trnsko – the Story of a Generation. The exhibition, which was opened in 2010 at the Zagreb City Museum, was preceded by field research, research of periodicals and archives, gathering of photographs, interviews with residents and, finally, photo documentation of the neighbourhoods.
The same approach was used in research-based exhibitions in the subsequent stages of the Project: Zagreb Dubrava – From the Suburbs to the City (2012), Maksimir – History and Neighbourhood Symbols (2014), Trešnjevka – Space and People (2017 – 2018), Trnje – Space and People (2018).
The interactive project also included smaller street exhibitions What Dubrava Means to You?, 20 Neighbourhood Images of Old Maksimir, and What Are Your Neighbourhood Stories? The exhibitions were put up in the above neighbourhoods as an encouragement for the local people to share pictures from their family albums, which, together with materials from institutions, primarily from the vast collection of the Zagreb City Museum, were shown in comprehensive research-based exhibitions at the Museum.
The aim of the research-based exhibitions was to present the visitors with the neighbourhoods and their residents, by combining the view from the outside (spatial development, construction, social life, economy, everyday life) with personal experience.
With an interactive approach, people’s memories and photographs from family albums became an important part of the exhibition scenarios, which contributed to bringing the Museum closer to the citizens. Stories told from the perspective of actual protagonists offered a view from within and gave these exhibitions a piece of the atmosphere of everyday life in a neighbourhood.
In the research-based exhibitions, we combined materials from about 200 family albums and documented about a hundred memories of the inhabitants of Zagreb. We also used hundreds of photographs of various neighbourhoods from the collection of the Zagreb City Museum.
Historians, art historians, architects, anthropologists and others were involved in the project and the exhibitions were accompanied by publications containing texts written by experts.
In addition, throughout the realization of the Project, we collaborated with various neighbourhood institutions and associations, starting with the museum of the Novi Zagreb neighbourhood Trnsko. The museum exists primarily in a virtual space, but also in real space – in the form of thematic exhibitions put up in Mrav café. We also collaborated with the Dubrava People’s University, Maksimir Cultural and Information Centre and Trešnjevka Cultural Centre, which took part with its “Mapping Trešnjevka” programme, as well as with the Maksimir Public Institution, Association for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Research, Dotrščina Virtual Museum and “Susjed susjedu pomaže” Association (Neighbours Helping Neighbours).
Within the Museum’s Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy, we also arranged smaller thematic exhibitions, in collaboration with individual schools, and the exhibition of student photographs titled Neighbourhood Image was carried out in collaboration with the Cinematography Department of the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Working on the Project, we wanted to connect with the wider community and explore, valorise, and present certain parts of the city, to enhance the understanding of Zagreb as a whole and encourage the further collection of material.
Over the past couple of years, The Zagreb Neighbourhoods Project has combined materials and photographs from the collection of the Zagreb City Museum, as well as from other cultural heritage institutions, and photographs collected from family albums of the local people and audio memories of the neighbourhood residents and newspaper articles.
We combined all this using a research-based approach to the exhibitions, focusing on the continuous interaction between the Zagreb City Museum and its fellow citizens. This allowed us to look at Zagreb and its neighbourhoods from the perspective of its inhabitants.
Kristian Strukić, Project Author and Manager