The Olympic Museum in Sarajevo is one of the most representative segments of the BiH Olympic Committee, which participates in the development and affirmation of Olympic values and the Olympic spirit. It was founded by the decision of the Organizing Committee of the XIV WOG with the desire to permanently preserve the memory of the organization and realization of this unforgettable Olympic event.
In the presence of numerous guests and the President of the International Olympic Committee, J.A. Samaranch, the Museum was officially opened on February 8, 1984, on the opening day of the XIV Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. The basis of its concept, modeled on the IOC Museum in Lausanne, was a synthesis of sport and art. With this idea, affirming the universal values of the Olympic spirit and art, the Museum realized more than 300 thematic programs from 1984 to 1992.
The building of the Olympic Museum, the “Villa Mandić”, was built for the Sarajevo lawyer Nikola Mandić in 1903, according to the project of Karl Paržik. It used to be the seat of the American Consulate, and more recently of the City Committee of SC Sarajevo.
The Villa was built on the very edge of the slope with a beautiful view of the city according to the pattern of the courts and palaces of the aristocracy. It is connected to Markale and the center of Sarajevo by a series of stairs. Behind it peeks the impressive tower of the villa of Heinrik Reiter, one of the directors of the Sarajevo Brewery, which was also designed by Paržik at the same time as Mandić's villa was built. This small castle, rich in decorations of Alpine-folklore stylistic elements and German Gothic, and with its museum items, captured the attention of visitors until April 27, 1992, when, at the beginning of the war in Sarajevo, as one of the first cultural institutions, in addition to the Oriental Institute and the National Library, it was shelled and destroyed.
By engaging the employees of the Museum and the wider social community in difficult war conditions, the exhibits of the Olympic Museum were saved and stored in safe places in the basements of OC “Zetra”.
As a result of this feat, the saved exhibits were available for an exhibition in the new Olympic Museum, which is located in the “Zetra” complex in the premises of the OC BiH. This "new" museum was officially opened on February 8th 2004, on the occasion of marking the 20th anniversary of the XIV Winter Olympics. The museum was officially opened by Mr. Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC and Mr. Denis Zvizdic, Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton.
The basic concept of the new Olympic Museum is to present the spirit of Olympism, Olympic values, creativity, youth and other positive achievements of this event through sports and art. Through the sports segment in the Museum, the preparation, organization and implementation of the XIV Winter Olympics in Sarajevo is highlighted, and through the art segment Map of World Graphics "Art and Sport" with works of art by artists such as; Andy Warhol, Henry Moor, Michelangelo Pistoleto and the collection of contemporary artists of BiH, among which are the works of Mersad Berber, Boško Kućanski, Afan Ramić, Mario Mikulić, Mehmed Zaimović, etc. The premises of the Olympic Museum in Sarajevo also have equipment for video projections, and films from the opening, duration and closing of the XIV Winter Olympics, which are presented to the groups and visitors of the Museum. Within the activities of the Olympic Museum, various programs, exhibitions, lectures and conferences on the topic of sports and art are periodically presented.
In parallel with the regular activities of the Museum, the necessary restoration of the exhibits was carried out, because the exhibits were not restored for 27 years, despite severe damages that were caused by the shelling of the Olympic Museum. Therefore, the finalization of this project was of great importance.
However, the possibility of the reconstruction and adaptation of the destroyed building “Villa Mandić”, was constantly considered. In January 1998, academician Ivan Straus developed a "Project for the reconstruction and new functional organization of the Museum of the XIV Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo", and later the conceptual design. Based on this, in December 1999, architect Dragan Bijedić and civil engineer Vladimir Savković, within the designer firm "Architect", made a detailed design called "Olympic Academy Sarajevo, a design for the remediation of the construction." The realization of this project began in 2000, which put the facility on the list of cultural assets of special national interest for BiH. It is for this reason that the Institute for the Protection of Monuments monitored the activities, both in the design and in the implementation of the designed solutions.
The Olympic Committee of BiH actively participated throughout the process, in order to adequately stop the decay of this representative building and to pursue its adaption. Thus, the complete roof structure was successfully restored, new woodwork was installed on the doors and windows, and the concrete structure of the Museum's interior was partially restored. Following the project documentation, the facade and interior were adapted and gave a new shine to this luxury building.
Within this phase, the capacities and useful areas of the Olympic Museum have been expanded, which created the conditions for the work of a larger number of employees with available multifunctional spaces, not only for the activities of the Museum, but for other activities as well. In addition to all phases of adaptation and renovation of the Museum, OC BiH also set up its purpose in the future. Namely, it was concluded that the building of the Olympic Museum will be the seat of the Olympic Academy of BiH. It will be an open university of sports with numerous program activities in the domain of theory and practice, according to the models of the National Olympic Committees in the world that own such an institution. After the completion of the renovation of the Olympic Museum, on the initiative of the City Administration of Sarajevo and the Olympic Committee of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an agreement was reached that the Museum of Contemporary Art "Ars Aevi" would take care of the Olympic Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its exhibits, which created the conditions for the smooth running of the Museum's activities in the future, which also remained the property of the Olympic Committee of BIH, while "Ars Aevi" took over the management for ten years.
Reconstructed and modernized, the Museum today provides much more favorable conditions for the presentation of museum materials and current programs. As the only Olympic museum in the region, and the only sports museum in BiH, with the Olympic Academy, it will successfully affirm and present the sports heritage of our country and Olympism in general, encourage the promotion of Olympic values and inherit one of the brightest moments of Sarajevo and BiH - WOG 1984.
The Olympic Museum, in addition to important documents related to the organization, preparation and realization of the XIV Winter Olympic Games, also provides all visitors to see a unique numismatic collection of the Hasagić family, consisting of 250 donated gold coins of an exceptional value. There are also authentic skis of silver medalist Jure Franko, as well as the coat of IOC President J.A. Samaranch, which he used during the Games.
In addition to the memory of 1984 and the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, a part of the exhibits from the first major multi-sport competition in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Olympics "EYOF 2019 Sarajevo & East Sarajevo" will be placed in the Olympic Museum. Among other things, you can see the torch with which the flame was lit at the opening ceremony, and the competitive skis of Esma Alić, with which she performed at the EYOF in 2019 and achieved the best result for the team of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although the renovation of the Museum lasted from its devastation in 1992 until today in very difficult socio-economic conditions, it was successfully completed, primarily because of the Olympic Committee of BiH, Olympic Solidarity, the City of Sarajevo, but also the wider community.
Despite the finalization of the reconstruction of the Olympic Museum, OC BiH applied to the Olympic Solidarity for the project of finishing the interior and the inventory of certain rooms and spaces in the total amount of 60,000 USD.