The Homeland Museum in Knjаževаc is located at Kаrаdjordjeva 15, in the building made in the year 1906 as a dual family residential house owned by the Sibinović family.
Today this building is a cultural monument. The object belongs to the cultural heritage of civil architecture with stylistic characteristics of importance for the beginning of 20th century period.
In order to revitalize the cultural monument and provide necessary space for adequate storage, scientific research and the presentation of the museum items, in conformity with the needs of modern museology and contemporary visitors, appeared a need for the change of former outdated museum concept into a new one which would additionally engage the visitor to actively participate in the education based on the contents of the museum. The renovation, revitalization and reconstruction project of the cultural monument by architect Sima Gušić was designed in the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Niš.
During the revitalization of the monument, considering the significance and function of the object, the emphasis was on the preservation of important historical characteristics, the authentic look of the outer part of the building, its locational disposition, the symmetry of the object and its secondary plasticity, whereas the significant changes were made in the interior, mostly in the sense of creating a single space instead of previous intimate rooms in the residential house. This was made in order to avoid the display of the museum material separately, in the form of collections, so that now, in the unified museum space we exhibit an inseparable program with the emphasis on certain smaller units or details where necessary. This museum exhibition was determined by the museum concept and it has a homeland character it but is not exclusively local in its character; it is open to communication with wider area an events which may bring new museum materials and change in its contents as a consequence of new scientific achievements.
The museum exhibition is planned to include chronologically and thematically exposed original items or, when necessary, copies of the items from this region kept in the museums in Belgrade, Niš and Zаječаr, presented as cultural and historical sub-units: nature and people, the prehistoric period in the region of Knjаževаc, protohistory and pre-Roman period, the Roman period, Byzantium-old Slavs, Middle Ages, numismatics, the period of Turkish reign, the struggle for the liberation from the Turks, the First and Second Uprising, the town of Gurgusovac and the Gurgusovac tower, Serbian-Turkish wars 1876-1878, the Timok Rebellion, the labour movement 1895-1918, the labour movement 1918-1941. This would enable a comprehensive interpretation of natural resources, cultural and historical heritage and also the engagement of the museum as an active participant in the cultural life of the town and education of its inhabitants and visitors. This exhibition has still not been fully realized according to the shown synopsis.
Due to the lack of funds, only the left wing of the object has been made entirely according to the aforementioned project. In this space there were exhibitions of natural, geological and archaeological collections from prehistory to the Middle Ages and a part of the collection of weapons from different periods. Also, in that space there was a part of the ethnological and cultural-historical collection. It turned out that the space, as well as the display cabinets we used, was not sufficient to show a very rich and varied fund of the Homeland Museum. The new exhibition was opened on 26 October 1996. The thing that remained is to, according to the project, adapt and arrange the second, right wing of the building, which would provide space for exhibiting the cultural and historical, ethnological and art collections and also for a multi-purpose gallery space.
In the year 2001 the Ministry of Culture provided funds which enabled the rehabilitation, adaptation and revitalizing of the right wing of the building at Karadjordjeva 15. The works provided the space upstairs for the exhibition of the abovementioned museum items which would further present chronologically the development of the region of Knjaževac, by presenting specific elements of traditional rural and civic culture. On the ground floor of the building an exhibition space was also created. In 2005 the necessary showcases were also purchased and according to the synopsis made by Dušica Živković, a museum advisor and ethnologist and architect Brаnka Borojević Džokić and also expert associates of the museum: academic painter Drаgoslаv Živković, MA, curator and art historian Milena Milošević Micić, curator archaeologist Bojаna Ilijić and ethnologist Jelena Kurtić, the ethnological exhibition was conceived and partly set with expert assistance of senior curator and ethnologist Suzana Antić. The items for the exhibition were prepared by late conservator of the Homeland Museum in Knjаževаc, Vаsil Todorov, whereas the more recent material was prepared by Tomislаv Živković, a conservator and technician. The photographs were made by Sаšа Milutinović.
A special treasure of the museum in Knjаževаc is the ethnological collection of two-string knitted socks purchased from Vidosаva and Svetozаr Popović, meritorious collectors. The major part of the collection are 675 ethnographic items from the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century and an album, unique in the world, with 240 socks drawn in their natural colour and size and also an album with ornaments in colour and black and white technique. It will be exhibited as a Museum of Socks as part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum in accordance with the concept of Dušica Živković.
The new age and new house policy led to the formation of another department which deals with public relations. The gallery space, after being opened, represents the main part of the museum. All programs of the newly formed department and exhibitions which will be described in a separate text are mostly realized in this space.
After the partial arrangement of the courtyard, a vivid cultural activity was made possible. Numerous musical events, literary evenings, presentations and promotions and creative workshops are held from spring to autumn in the courtyard of the Homeland Museum.
At the time when there is no specific program or exhibitions, thanks to kindness of a person born in Knjаževаc, Momčilo Moša Todorović, the owner of the gallery called “Workshop of the Soul” in Belgrade, for more than a decade the works of some of the most significant contemporary Serbian painters are exhibited and also those who lived and painted in XX century such as Peđa Milosаvljević, Ljubica Cuca Sokić, Milаn Konjović, Milivoje Nikolаjević, Aleksаndar Cvetković, Dаda Đurić, Uroš Tošković and many others.