Kobarid Museum commemorates bloody WWI battle with new exhibition

Kobarid Museum, photo: www.kobariski-muzej.si

The Kobarid Museum, in the town of Kobarid on the Slovenian-Italian border was founded in 1990 with the aim of presenting the rich history of the town and its role during World War I, especially between May 1915 and November 1917. This year the museum extended its famous exhibition on what has been called the "Soca Front" to mark the 90th anniversary of a bloody battle.

Joze Serbec is the director of the museum:

"In contrast to other institutions we have not planned any special manifestations or events but we decided to start two or three projects. The biggest project was to upgrade the former multimedia presentation, which means we made a new documentary film, with original film material of that time, animation, some black and white shots, still pictures of the battles and with film material of today."

The historical museum is one with a military subject and an antiwar message. In the foreground are the "little people" caught up in the horrors of war. The greater part of the permanent exhibition is devoted to events in the mountainous northern section of the Soca Front and the detailed presentation of the famous Battle of Kobarid 1917, during which German and Austro-Hungarian divisions drove the Italian forces back deep into Italian territory. The museum displays an amazing set of military equipment, a vast collection of photographs and personal belongings of soldiers fighting at the front. This year the museum put a lot of effort into a promotional film:

"The second part of our project was the promotion film about the Kobarid museum, where we will show our visitors the museum itself on DVD, CD and also VHS. One of the bigger projects this year is also the travelling exhibition, which is currently on display in Italy."

The interest in the exhibition is still high even 90 years after the start of the battles during WWI and the number of foreign visitors is rising:

"The interest in the events at the Soca Front does not stop and we are surprised at the response we receive. The structure of our visitors in the past years has changed - today visitors from abroad prevail. Most Slovenians have already seen the exhibition and as I've said the number of foreign visitors is still rising."

The majority of foreign visitors almost 80% come from Italy and German speaking countries but there are also more and more visitors from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and all the other parts of the world.

The Kobarid museum is not one of victory and glory or of national pride but it is a museum of man and his distress.