The development of science with the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija started after the World War II when institutions of higher educations, faculties, science institutes were established.
At the same time the Scientific Society was instituted which has evolved into the Kosovo Academy of Science and Arts. At that time Priština became the administrative centre of the autonomous Kosovo-Metohija province. All the competencies of the Republic and the Federation were transferred to Priština, therefore, the scientific institutions in Belgrade had neither the financial nor the legal right to study Serbian culture in Kosovo and Metohija.
Among the first scientific instituions the Albanological Institut was established in 1967. Howere, there was no parallel scientific institution for studying the Serbian culture, nor was such an idea entertained at all.
The initiative to establish an institute for the study of Serbian culture in Kosovo and Metohija came from the University of Priština, which brought together a large number of doctors of science and masters from various fields of natural and social sciences, and where classes were held in both Serbian and Albanian languages.
Recognizing the necessity to establish a scientific research institution that would study and collect material from the Serbian cultural and artistic heritage, which was in danger of being forgotten, especially when it comes to oral folklore, university professors, associates and researchers from other institutions began a struggle that lasted for 21 years for the establishment of an institute dedicated to Serbian culture.
The Law on the Establishment of the Institute for the study of the culture of Serbs, Montenegrins, Croats and Muslims, which is the original name of today’s Institute for Serbian Culture – Priština, with its temporary headquarters in Leposavić, was passed by the SAP Kosovo Assembly in November 1987.
The first director, and then the only employee at the Institute, was the writer and researcher Milenko Jevtović, who took office on January 1, 1988 and remained in that position until the beginning of 1998.
The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Kosovo Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Faculties of Philology and Philosophy in Priština, Niš, Belgrade and Novi Sad, the Albanological Institute in Priština, as well as all independent scientific institutes in Belgrade together with a large number of prominent scientists, they all participated in the more specific definition of scientific research tasks of the Institute.
It was then that the idea of the Institute to be a multidisciplinary scientific institution appeared and it was decided to establish departments for Serbian language, literature, national history, art history, ethnological and ethno-musicological department and a scientific-documentation center with a scientific library.
Firstly, the Institute was situated in the very center of Priština (they had at their disposal two rooms in the building of the Museum of Kosovo), and in the spring of 1989 the Institute was moved to the premises of the Department for Science of the Province, near the Rectorate of the University of Priština, where it remained until December 1990.
According to the decision of the Assembly of the Municipality of Priština, the old and abandoned building in the church yard, which housed the first Serbian school from 1859 (Valjevska Street No. 2), was then assigned to the Institute for permanent use.
Based on the project of the Provincial Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the building was demolished and a new one of 850 square meters was built on its foundations. The Institute was there until the middle of 1999, when it was moved to Leposavić, where it is located today (The 24th November street).