Text topic: Legacy Institute and Cultural Policy of Serbia
Text author: Тијана Палковљевић Бугарски
Aware of its singularity and based on the idea of giving and charity, Matica Srpska has always nurtured the tradition of honouring and thanking all those who have contributed to its operations from its very beginnings in the 19th century. From the founding of the Museum,through its opening to the public in 1933, to its independence and situating of the Gallery of Matica Srpska in a separate building in 1958, special gratitude was expressed to the artists, their heirs and to the collectors who contributed to the art fund. At the beginning of the 90s, under very specific social and political circumstances, a series of exhibitions entitled Gift Collection was initiated at the Gallery of Matica Srpska. The goal of these exhibitions was to fill the art fund and also to promote the act of donating to museum institutions, as a contribution to the development of national culture. At first, such practice of organizing exhibitions of gift collections included exhibits of new works and publications of single-page catalogues with a short introductory texts and lists of art works which were gifted by donors. In the 21st century, representations of gift collections were improved with better quality and content of catalogues which contained expert reviews and reproductions of all donated works. Moreover, accompanying programmes such as talks with artists, guided tours and educational workshops for children were organized during exhibitions. The gift collection series have changed, developed and improved during their three decades of existence. Today, this is an exemplary model of filling the collection of the Gallery of Matica Srpska, with a unique attitude towards donors. Over time, it has become a brand that similarly appeals to artists, their heirs and also collectors to give presents and join the Friends Club of the Gallery of Matica Srpska. Thus, this gesture of donation provides them and also their works or their collections, with a permanent place in the history of Matica Srpska and Serbian culture.The gift collections of the Gallery of Matica Srpska, as a specific model of receiving, safeguarding and presenting artistic legacies, are unique examples in Serbian museums. This model points out how necessary it is to establish a system of handing over/donating artwork, but, at the same time, it also shows the need for that system to be constantly upgraded and improved to mutual satisfaction of the donors and the institutions that receive the gift of art.