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Celebrations of 200 years of National Museum begin

Ljubljana, 12 January - An exhibition of the National Museum's first exhibits will be launched today as Slovenia's oldest museum launches year-long celebrations its bicentenary. The celebrations will culminate and end with a high-profile reception in October, exactly on the museum's 200 birthday.

The National Museum of Slovenia.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

Entitled Museum through History, the exhibition features three parts, with the first covering the items that the museum acquired in the first decades of its existence.

The museums's employees from 1821 until today will be presented in the second part and the first reactions and comments on the work of the museum in the form of notes from books of impressions will be featured in the third one.

The items displayed will include a house-shaped urn from the area of Drnovo near Krško, a total of 116 coins and medals, a 1492 seal by a prominent Ljubljana resident and a Chiragra spider conch from Hohenwart's collection of conches.

The museum said that the concise exhibition, on display until 31 October, showed that the various fields covered by the museum had already been developed in the first years of its operation.

This is only one of the many events planned in the jubilee year, with the main exhibition - termed Gold - to open on 17 May. Gold connects all collections of the National Museum and has thus been selected as the main theme, the museum has said.

On display until February 2022, the exhibition in the museum's atrium will present three segments representing gold at the material and symbolic levels, showing the properties of gold and discussing many of its connotations.

On display will also be items from other museums in Slovenia. "The 200th anniversary will thus not only be the golden jubilee of the National Museum, but also a jubilee of all Slovenian museums that keep the heritage of the Slovenian nation."

Many other events will be organised as part of the celebrations, with the Jakopič Promenade in Tivoli Park hosting an exhibition on the National Museum from mid-September to mid-November.

An on-line campaign has already been under way since October, presenting 200 items showing diversity of collections and the museum's fields of work. Called "200 Years, 200 Items", it is featured on social networks and the museum's website.

An extensive monograph is also planned to be published on the occasion to comprehensively present the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the museum and its work in the first century of its existence.

It is being created by more than 20 authors from the National Museum, the adjacent Museum of Natural History, the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum and the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia. It is expected to be published in October.

The National Museum as the oldest museum institution in the territory of present-day Slovenia was established in 1821 as the Estate Museum of Carniola, and was renamed five years later the Provincial Museum of Carniola.

It was moved to the main present-day building, the Museum Palace, in 1888, and after the establishment of the first Yugoslav state in 1914, the name was changed to the National Museum and after Slovenia's independence to the National Museum of Slovenia.

In 1923, its ethnographic collections were relocated to the Ethnographic Museum and in 1933 much of its fine artwork was moved to the National Gallery. In 1944 the Museum of Natural History, located in the same building, became independent.

The National Museum currently houses six departments - archaeology, history and applied art, numismatic cabinet, graphics cabinet, conservation and restoration and a library.

© STA, 2021