Collection Marian Wenzel/Art history department

About the Colleciton

The academic career of the US-born art historian and artist Marian Wenzel is mostly connected to Great Britain, where, during more than forty years of constant labour, she produced dozens of works whose titles reveal different academic interests and the wide repertoire of topics she researched. Her research interests ranged from Gothic and Islamic art, decoration of houses in Sudan, ethnological studies on nurses in the First World War, Greek miniatures from the 4th and the 5th centuries, glass and jewellery, to art in medieval Bosnia. Marian Wenzel’s legacy can be found in over two thousands books, manuscripts, studies, drawings, and artifacts that she donated to the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her greatest contribution to the Bosnian scientific world was a catalogue of ornamental motifs on medieval tombstones [stećci], which was the culmination of years of research and fieldwork in graveyards all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today, this catalogue is an invaluable source of information for anyone studying medieval tombstones. Her drawings, photographs, and field diaries present valuable records not only about tombstones, but also on local people in the 1960s. In 1992, when the war in Bosnia started, Marian developed a new relationship with Bosnia. This is when she demonstrated her love for the country whose past she had been exploring. In 1992, she started identifying the problems Bosnia faced and the need to protect the country’s cultural and historical heritage during the war. She wrote a series of articles for eminent foreign magazines and founded a humanitarian organization for the protection of BH cultural heritage – the Bosnia&Herzegovina Heritage Rescue (BHHR).

In gratitude and respect for Marian Wenzel and her work, as well as the value of her material for the study of history, art history, and architecture, the History Museum has founded a special collection: Marian Wenzel Art History Department.



What is the Museum most proud of?

The Museum is proud of the trust that Marian Wenzel showed in donating her valuable book, photo, and archive collection, giving us, at the same time, the great responsibility of caring for it. The History Museum of B&H only partially recognized this extraordinary person through the exhibition: Marian Wenzel – Up Close, which opened in 2010, but has also taken on the long term task of promoting Marian Wenzel and her work outside narrow academic circles. Today, the permanent exhibition ”Note on Marian Wenzel” is accessible to visitors of the museum reading room. 


Elma Hodžić (