Luigi Micheletti Award

Luigi Micheletti Award 1997 Winner
Idrija Municipal Museum - Idrija (Slovenia)

The Idrija Municipal Museum was established in 1953 with the purpose of carrying out all activities related to the investigation, preservation and presentation of the technical heritage of the Idrija mercury mine, which was the second largest mine in Europe during five hundred years (1490 – 1987). But that has not remained the only area of work of Idrija Municipal Museum.

Presently it also cares for numerous:
- cultural-historical monuments (The miner’s house, which reveals the living culture of miners´ families in 19. century; Franja partisan hospital and partisan printing workshop Slovenija – two authentic monuments from the period of the Second World War; the house of the birth of important Slovenian writer France Bevk; castle Gewerkenegg – former mine castle is today the most important cultural-historical monument in Idrija, revived with new and rich contents.)
- technical monuments (Francisca’s shaft - a technical department of the museum with rich exhibition of restored mining machines and devices; The Idrija Kamšt – huge wooden water wheel for pumping pit water from the mine, which was constructed in 1790 and operated until 1948; The Klav×e – water barriers on the Idrijca, Belca and Ovčjak rivers from 18. and 19. century, also known as the “Slovene pyramids”.)
- and natural attraction (Divje jezero – Wild lake. The lake and its surroundings are famous for their exceptionally rich flora an fauna, in particular the Carniolan primrose and the »human fish«.)

More than 50.000 domestic and foreign visitors visit them each year. The Museum also follows contemporary trends in exhibition activities, displays several impressive collections, dedicates much attention to its visitors, and organizes a series of lectures, entitled »Museum Evenings«, and summer cultural events under the name »Castle Evenings«.

The official seat and central exhibition area of the Idrija Municipial Museum is Gewerkenegg Castle. It was built in the beginning of 16. century as a residence of mine administrators and as a store house for mercury and cinnabar. The castle was renovated, many times in the past, especially in last two decades.

In 1995 we opened the permanent museum exhibition, entitled FIVE CENTURIES OF THE MERCURY MINE AND THE TOWN OF IDRIJA. The collections are systematically arranged and designed to provide a thorough, illustrative and attractive presentation of Idrija's 500-years history. With the help of selected museum specimens, pictures, photographs and models we are presenting: the discovery of mercury in 1490, the path of Idrija’s treasure into the world, the ore deposit, the mining environment, the role of technology in connection with geology and medicine, the cultural potential of the mining population – particularly schooling and lace making, amazing technical devices, as well as interesting tools and accessories.

The impact of the Luigi Micheletti Award
The Luigi Micheletti Award that the Municipal Museum Idrija was awarded with in 1997 was most of all a sign of approval of the work and efforts dedicated to the museum exhibitions and activities. We were extremely honoured to have received it. The award and achievements of the museum are also a great pride for the town and municipality where we work and live in. Municipal Museum Idrija belongs to the most frequently visited Slovene museums. We are specially proud of being recognised and known all through Europe as a high-quality museum. Numerous tourists come to visit our museum exhibitions, many of them being experts interested in the history and development of technology.

Idrija Municipal Museum
Idrija Municipal Museum
Idrija Municipal Museum
Idrija Municipal Museum
Idrija Municipal Museum

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