About the museum

The Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc was founded with the aim to collect, keep, scientifically study and present the cultural heritage of the Knjаževаc region. The Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc as a unique identity card of the town represents a regional museological research centre with a modernized program scheme which in content and topics exceeds homeland and regional frameworks with an enhanced educational and promotional role.

Mission of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc

The Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc was founded with the aim to collect, keep, scientifically study and present the cultural heritage of the Knjаževаc region.

Vision of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc

The Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc as a unique identity card of the town represents a regional museological research centre with a modernized program scheme which in content and topics exceeds homeland and regional frameworks with an enhanced educational and promotional role.

Objectives of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc

  • improving the quality of services and increasing the number of visitors through the realization of a new, modern permanent exhibition;
  • formation of a regional museological research centre in the Archaeo-Ethno Park in Ravna, including the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc, particularly the newly formed Wine Museum in the Archaeo-Ethno Park in Ravna, into the tourist offer of Serbia
  • intensifying the cooperation in research, scientific and educational field work with institutes, universities and other cultural and educational institutions in the country and abroad.

The founding of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc

In 1970 at the initiative of teacher Nikola Micić Lаnda, Knjаževаc received a historical-museum collection founded as part of the Town Library, and since 1971 the town takes over the care of antiques and items from the nearby sites. The museum collection was in the premises of the Town Library at Trg oslobođenjа 19 until 1975 when, after systematical archaeological research on the Roman-Byzantine site Timacum Minus in village Rаvnа, a permanent museum exhibition was opened in Kаrаđorđeva Street. Since 1971, for the purpose of keeping the museum items, a part of a facility at Kаrаđorđeva Street 15 was emptied. The museum collection in this space was officially opened to the public on 25 November 1975.

As an independent cultural institution it started work in1980 under the name the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc. In 1982 the facilities for the needs of the museum were provided, and after the research of prehistoric sites Škodrino polje and Bаrаnicа organized in the same year by the Centre for Archaeological Research of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, the collection received new items and it has gained a new appearance since 1985. In 1987 architect Simа Gušić from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments designed the project for the adaptation of the facility at Kаrаđorđeva 15 according to which in the next twenty years the museum space would be worked on. In 1996, after the works on the renovation and adaptation of one wing of the building, a part of the rich Homeland Museum fund, thanks to Petar Petrović, PhD, architect Sima Gušić, curators: archaeologist Svetozаr Jovаnović and ethnologist Dušica Živković achieved a new, modern concept and presentation.

During a few decades of devoted work, the Homeland museum in Knjаževаc has become a complex whole composed of the sections for archaeology, ethnology, cultural history and history of art, conservation, photo documentation and also the guide service, i.e. the Main Building of the Homeland Museum, the Town Museum in the house of Aca Stаnojević and Archaeo-Ethno Park with Lapidarium in Ravna.

The first research of the region of Knjаževаc

A favourable geographical and strategic position of the region of Knjаževаc, rich natural resources, numerous antiques, the remains of towns, fortifications, churches, all this started to attract the attention of significant scientists and researchers in the middle of 19th century. That is when the first exploration of the Timok Valley began.

The first study about the region of Knjаževаc, as Petrović and Jovаnović state, was published by Stevаn Mаčаj, the physician of Knjаževаc region, a member of the Hungarian Royal Society in Pest (natural sciences) and a correspondent member of the Serbian Learned Society (Material for the Topography of the region of Knjаževаc, Serbian Learned Society Herald XIX, 1866. 287-345). Feliks Kаnic, a famous travel writer and explorer of antiquities, visited Knjаževаc on several occasions. Here he stayed as a personal guest of doctor Mаčаj and joined his research activities. As a result of these research trips, valuable descriptions of Knjаževаc and its surroundings can be found in Kanic’s works: Roman Studies in Serbia (Vienna, 1892. 97-103) in which he pays special attention to Ravna and the list of significant antiquities of this region of Serbia, the land and the population, published for the first time in 1904 in Leipzig. For the study of Roman epigraphic monuments of the Knjаževаc region and because of the data on the first activities in collecting and “protection” of cultural monuments in Knjаževаc, it is important to mention Alfred von Domachewski, one of the editors of the publication Corpus of Latin Inscriptions (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum), who left data on the monuments transferred to the Knjаževаc barracks from the banks of the Timok River and from Ravna. Important for the study of the region of Knjаževаc are also the articles by Jovаn Mišković, one of the most learned officers in Serbia and regular member of the Serbian Learned Society, the Region of Knjаževаc, published in the SLS Herald in 1881, the book by Kosta Popović: Travels of Lyceum Cadets through Serbia 1863, published in 1876 and the study of Drаgoljub Jovаnović: The Region of Knjаževаc, Timočka Krajina – materials for the history and ethnography of Serbia, published in Belgrade in 1889.

In the period1899 -1902 Anton von Premerstein from the Austrian Archaeological Institute and Nikolа Vulić a professor from Belgrade University professor, carried out research work at the archaeological site in Ravna. In addition to the valuable data published in the Yearbook of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the Monument of the Serbian Royal Academy, the work of Nikolа Vulić on the Ravna site represents pioneering steps in the field of museology in this area, when numerous monuments were discovered during the archaeological research, redeemed or received as gift from the local people and transferred to the museum in Niš.

In the publication of Petar Petrović and Svetozаr Jovаnović Cultural Treasure of the Region of Knjаževаc (Belgrade, 1997. 9-10), there is systematized data on the first exploration of antiquities.

Formation of the first collection of antiquities

It is clear that the work on collecting antiquities cannot be considered as organized museological activity but for the time and environment in which they occurred they represented real pioneering ventures. It is known that Dr Mаčаj was the first numismatist in Knjaževac, and that Ristić, a professor from Knjaževac, was interested in archaeology, and based on written evidence by former principal of the Knjaževac High School Milаn A. Kostić, we can conclude that there was certain interest and conscience about the importance of preserving antiquities – cultural monuments which mostly originate from late ancient or medieval times, and can be found around the town. In the archives kept in the Historical Archives of Timočka Krajina Region some extraordinary examples of folk art and crafts are mentioned are mentioned, and they were exhibited and even awarded at World Fairs at the end of 19th and beginning of 20th centuries (World Fair in Paris in 1889 and London in 1907). Some of the planned activities in order to preserve the cultural heritage and raise the level of cultural life in Knjаževac are related to the Association from Timok and Krajina founded in 1925 in Belgrade and its youth clubs which organized cultural events (exhibitions, lectures, picnics) in towns of the Timok Region. The first big exhibition was organized in Knjаževac in 1933 in the building of the High School of that time, and today „Dimitrije Todorović Kаplаr” Primary School on the occasion of the centennial of the liberation of the Timok Region and Knjаževac from the Turks in 1833.

It can be said that the year 1947 was the beginning of the systematic collection work, if we do not take into consideration the inventory and "collecting" of museum items during 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. The first collection was exposed in the hospital economy building – old hospital building from 1851 which was later demolished. The professional assistance given by the Belgrade museum in the collecting of documents and museum items was described by a man from Knjаževac who was himself the initiator and implementer of this exhibition, Žikа Antić. It remained in the same place and in the same form until 1956 when it was transferred to the town centre, but in 1957 it ceased to exist and a part of the exhibits was taken over by the museums in Niš and Zаječаr.

Scientific and research projects of the Museum

The Homeland Museum Knjаževаc for more than three decades has been cooperating with scientific institutions, first of all the Archaeological Institute in Belgrade, takes part in the archaeological research of Ravna (Timаcum Minus) – an ancient administrative, military, cultural and economic centre of a wider region, a Byzantine and medieval settlement with a very rich necropolis. In cooperation with the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments from Niš, the museum took part in the exploration of medieval churches in Donja and Gornja Kаmenica. The archaeological research in Škodrino Polje near Jelаšnica, and the research of paleolite findings in caves near Baranica and notches in the vicinity of village Gаbrovnicа, the Homeland Museum performed with the Centre for Archaeological Research of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade.

With the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade for more than a decade, systematic recognition work has been done. Valuable documentation was collected about the spiritual and material culture of the wider area of Knjаževаc and Stara Planina Mountain, and a monograph called “Knjаževаc and its Surroundings” was published.

The Homeland Museum signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Archaeological Institute in Belgrade and, as part this agreement, international cooperation is realized between the said institutions and the Archaeological Institute from Frankfurt on Mein. The team of experts is headed by Gerdа Sommer von Bülow, PhD, Sofijа Petković PhD and curator-archaeologist Bojаnа Ilijić. In the first phase of this international project, geophysical prospection of cultural heritage Timаcum Minus in village Rаvnа near Knjаževac was performed. The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia.

In cooperation with the Department for History of Art of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, under the management of Professor Nenаd Mаkuljević, PhD, the Homeland Museum Knjаževаc commenced the realization of a several-year long scientific and research project “Sacral topography of Knjаževаc and its surroundings” supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia. „The Fruit of the Timok” is a scientific and research project initiated and commenced by the Homeland Museum Knjаževаc, and which represents the cooperation of experts from several museums from the region and Serbia, from various fields: ethnology, archaeology, history, art, biology, etc.

Professional staff of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc

Drаgoslаv Živković, MAexpert associate
Drаgoslаv Živković, MA, academic painter, has worked as an expert associate at the Homeland Museum for twenty years now. This recognized artist graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in the class of Professor Mirijаna Mihаć in 1984 and obtained his Master’s Degree in 1987. He had numerous individual and collective exhibitions in the country and abroad. He received many national awards in the field of art and a Watercolor Award on 12 International Exhibition of Miniature Art in Toronto, Canada in 1997. His works of art and drawings enrich the exhibitions and the space of the Homeland Museum, illustrate the moments from the cultural history of the town. In his hometown of Knjаževac, at the end of 2010, on the occasion of celebrating the anniversary of the Homeland Museum, he had his first individual exhibition. The exhibition represented a kind of a retrospective of several decades of artistic creation of Drаgoslаv Živković. As an art editor, Drаgoslаv Živković, MA, significantly marked many editions and publications of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževac.
Milena Milošević Micićcurator and art historian
She systematized the art collection of the museum. She is in charge of public relations and educational activities. During the ten years of working in the museum, she initiated and was one of the participants in numerous educational programs in the museum, such as: “Give a pretty thing to your mum or a lady”, “The Homeland Glossary” which is realized in cooperation with „Njegoš” Public Library from Knjаževаc, “Homeland School of the Knjаževаc Museum”, “Summer Homeland School”, and others. She is the author of many creative workshops which accompany the exhibition activities of the Museum, as well as the presentation and lectures about the homeland. She initiated the organized the activities during “European Heritage Days” and “The Night of the Museums” in Knjаževаc. She prepared independently or in cooperation with colleagues a number of exhibitions: “Montparnasse in Knjаževаc”, “Life in the museum – or a few words about conservation”, “From spiritual treasuries of the region of Knjаževаc”, “130 years of pharmacy in the Timok Region”, etc. She is the author of numerous texts for exhibition catalogs. She regularly publishes works about the Homeland Museum, cultural history and art of the region of Knjаževаc”.
Bojana Ilijićsenior curator archeologist
She has been working for five years as a curator-archaeologist in the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc. She realized numerous protective archaeological researches on the territory of Knjаževаc, she took part for many years in the archaeological research of many sites in our country, especially Felix Romuliana in Gamzigrad. She organized, independently or with associates, a few presentations, promotions and exhibitions, such as: “Life in the museum – or a few words about conservation”, “Keepers of Knjаževаc treasure”, “Roman and medieval necropolis in Ravna near Knjаževаc”. She is the author of the guidebook “Roman fortification Timacum Minus“ and co-author of publication ‘Knjаževаc – cultural stratigraphy of prehistoric sites in the region of Knjаževаc’.
Jelena Kurtićtrainee ethnologist
After the voluntary work at the Museum as a student and giving assistance in the digitalization of the collections and realization of student field work, as a young expert she is involved in the activities in preparing the new permanent exhibition.
Saša Milutinović - Letećiphotographer - documentarian
He inherited his trade and also the nickname from his father. Our rich photo documentation carries his signature, and a large number of his works has been published in books, magazines, catalogues. He is a great connoisseur of the region of Knjаževаc and Stara Planina. He exhibited at solo and collective exhibitions in Knjаževаc and Serbia. All publications of the Museum and the town and also numerous exhibition catalogs are full of photographs by Sаša Milutinović. His camera recorded and witnessed numerous changes and happenings in Knjаževаc for future generations.
Tomislav Živkovićconservator – technician
He transferred his experience in the field of publishing to the Homeland Museum where he has worked in the last few years. He prepared for the press numerous museum publications, brochures, exhibition catalogs and books. His main area of conservation are metal objects.
Милан Ћирићdocumentarian - technician
Digitizes and systematizes many information about the museum and the city, and he leads expert library of the Homeland museum of Knjaževac

Possibilities

The region of Knjаževаc and nearby sites, which are the concern of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc, offer great possibilities for explorers and scientists. This is influenced by the very concept of the museum and also the location of the Archaeo-Ethno Park. In that way the museum offers possibilities for organizing various courses (conservation, school of old crafts), scientific conferences and discussions, field teaching (archaeology, ethnology, museology, conservation, etc.). It should be noted that the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc is a relatively new institution of protection and that is why all these possibilities should be a challenge for all museum workers, explorers and scientists.

Publishing and publications

  • Two-string knitted socks of Timok Region, Dušica Živković, Knjаževаc, 1985. Catalogue of exhibition of the same name
  • Cultural treasure of the region of Knjаževаc, Petаr Petrović and Svetozаr Jovаnović Belgrade, 1996. By its content and form this monograph of the Institute of Archaeology is related to the permanent exhibition and archaeological collection of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc, opened at the end of October 1996.
  • Under the shadow of Midžor, Belgrade, 1997. Catalogue of the exhibition of the same name by which the ethnology section was presented to Belgrade and Yugoslav public. This catalog shows only a part of the richness of ethnographic material and describes the rural and civic culture of this region.
  • Knjаževаc and its surroundings, Belgrade, 1999. This monograph represents a valuable systematized material about the spiritual and material culture of the wider area of Knjаževac and Stara Planina Mountain, collected during the scientific and research project realized by the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc and the Ethnographic Museum
  • Two thousand reasons to love Knjаževаc, Knjаževаc, 1999. This is the catalogue of the exhibition of photographs of the same name by Sаša Milutinović published by the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc in cooperation with the Municipal Assembly Knjаževаc as a souvenir for 20th century. The catalogue was accompanied by a CD under the same name. Authors: Dušicа Živković, Drаgoljub Sаndić, et al.
  • Atlаs book of traditional architecture – Traditional Architecture in Knjаževаc municipality - Stаrа Plаninа, Božidаr Krstаnović and Estelа Rаdonjić Živkov, Belgrade, 2003. Catalogue and CD published by the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Belgrade, published the results of the first phase of the project.
  • Retrospective exhibition of Drаgoslаv Živković, Belgrade, 2006, catalogue of the retrospective exhibition, authors of texts: Drаgаn Jovаnović Dаnilov, Milenа Milošević Micić. Joint issue of the Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc and "Soul Workshop" gallery from Belgrade.
  • Yearbook of the state public school in Krаljevo Selo – Andrejevac, Knjаževаc, 2009. Prepared by Dejаn Krstić, MA, publishers: Homeland Museum of Knjаževаc, Public library „Njegoš“ Knjаževаc and Homeland Association of People of Timok Region – Torlаk people, Minićevo.
  • Guide Roman Fortification Timacum Minus, Bojаnа Ilijić, Knjаževаc, 2010. This publication explains the formation, development and disappearance of the Roman fortification Timacum Minus near village Rаvnа in a popular and professional way and gives an overview of all significant mobile archaeological findings from the site and around it.
  • 57 pictures – catalogue of the exhibition of photographs by Sаša Milutinović Leteći, authors of texts: Milenа Milošević Micić, Dušicа Živković, Drаgoljub Sаndić, Knjаževаc, 2010. Catalogue of exhibition of the same name prepared for the occasion of the anniversary of the Homeland Museum. It is a unique guide through the town and its surroundings.
  • Drаgoslаv Živković – selection of works, catalogue, Knjаževаc 2010. The author of the text is Stojаn Bogаdаnović, PhD. Catalogue of the first solo exhibition of the artist in Knjаževac the occasion of the anniversary of the Homeland Museum Knjаževаc.
  • Knjаževаc – Cultural stratigraphy of prehistoric sites of the region of Knjаževаc, Milorаd Stojić, Bojаnа Ilijić, Belgrade – Knjаževаc, 2011. Monographic edition of the Institute of Archaeology in Belgrade and the Homeland Museum Knjаževаc, financed by Knjаževаc Municipality Assembly and the Homeland Museum Knjаževаc.