People united by their language, tradition, beliefs and the past constitute a country. They gather around ideas and great thoughts and they don’t forget the results achieved by earlier generations. The idea of nation-building refers to the goals regarding the improvement of living conditions of all people who live in a territory where this idea exists. Any higher form of cultural and economic unification, systems of values and ideals well-founded into the idea of nation-building have to be supported in material civilization. They are crucial for the survival and development of a society in economic, cultural and general practice. The complexity and the twirl of the modern world sometimes blur these important processes and we forget valuable merits of many individuals. We live in the material civilization which is the result of someone’s knowledge, effort and work, but in the first place it is the product of someone’s ideas and practical work.
The aim of the virtual exhibitions in the cycle They Built Serbia is to remind us of these prominent people, to educate young generations and to inform the masses in Serbia and abroad. Its goal is neither to sustain tradition nor to deviantly transfer the spirit and ideas from past eras to the present day, but to achieve what these great researchers of the past, starting from Thucydides to Donald Kagan, encourage us to do and that is to study the nature of a man by using past events so that we could better understand the present ones and foresee the future ones. Stories about these prominent people who built Serbia teach us that even though every man has got the urge for creativity, only those who are truly devoted, sensible and productive and not led by political will or power, only they can leave the real trace.
The past two centuries in which the modern Serbian state was created and reconstructed are filled with examples of people who aspired to create or shape the material world. Some of them will be promoted in the cycle of virtual exhibitions They Built Serbia which is dedicated to the prominent individuals who, inspired by knowledge and a better social mind, created objects useful for the future. Their trace in the history and in our memory is not only marked by the physical presence of the objects they created but by the gratitude of their users. They will last as long as the story about Serbia lasts.