On Sunday 27 September the Migration Museum hosted The Bosnian Way, a CultureSpace event co-created with the Bosnian Community in South Australia.
The event was a means for the community to celebrate their rich and diverse history and culture in any way they chose, within reason of course.
Traditional Bosnian coffee was the focus of the day which also included elements of dancing, music, cultural object displays and Bosnian sweets; one of my favourite parts of these events is the food; at no point am I left feeling hungry.
Coffee is a big part of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the way you drink coffee is very specific and what I would consider an art form.
Bosnian coffee, Turkish style, comes in a small metal džezva coupled with a small round cup called a fildžan. With a tiny spoon you gently stir the top layer of coffee in the džezva. When the top turns a cream colour you are ready to pour. The džezva is usually filled with a little more coffee than the fildžan can hold. Traditionally sugar cubes are dipped into the fildžan and eaten. Although I take my regular coffee without sugar, I am always willing to experience the proper way of doing things, and can I say what a beautiful coffee it was. There is something important to say about well-prepared coffee.
What made this event extra special was discovering that one of our visitors, unbeknown to the community organisers driving the event, was of Bosnian heritage and living in Australia with her new Australian boyfriend. The young woman had heard about the event on the radio and decided to bring not only her boyfriend but his entire extended family to the event to get just a taste of her culture back home. The museum became a platform for an individual to share something about her culture with non-community members in a meaningful way.
This is just one example of a visitor experience that really drives what the museum is aiming to accomplish through its community engagement activities. That is, cross-cultural understanding and shared experiences. Not only was the museum able to provide a space for the Bosnian community to come together to celebrate their culture, history and identity within South Australia but the museum became a space for meaningful experiences and cultural sharing.
Increasingly the museum is seeing visitors external to the hosting community groups participating in community cultural days, which is of great value to the hosting community groups as well as to the museum.