National Historical Museum, Albania – Travel Short
Sometimes I visit a museum and my heart races because I get overwhelmed by all the rad I see, instant inspiration, mad love oozing out of me…
Not so when I visited the National Historical Museum in Tirana. The total opposite – my heart ached. The “Communist Terror Pavilion” broke me – large-scale photos of soldiers executing civilians and photos of the lifeless. So many profiles of people who were executed. And below each profile, their bloodied shirt or jacket, a scarf… broken glasses or a hair comb, personal effects found in their pockets or near them. Unremarkable items transformed into tiny bits of history – forever stamping time, providing a tiny glimpse of a place, a period that seems so foreign and totally unreal. No wonder Albanians want to forget about this era.
No other history museum has had this kind of impact on me. I left wanting to give a big hug to all of Albania. So much suffering has happened in this country, to the people.
And yet they’re a proud culture, moving forward, dreaming up. A museum security guard noticed me and gave me a tour. One minute I’m almost in tears – then a few seconds later this young guard is cheering me up, pointing out items unique to Albania, proud to share his home. From a country filled with so much pain and sadness come a people that have so much love and trust to give. Journey may have written and crooned Open Arms, but I’m telling y'all that all of Albania will welcome you with open arms.