About the museum
The headquarters of Velenje Museum are in Velenje Castle, which is famous for being one of the best-preserved Slovenian castles. In historical sources, Velenje Castle was first mentioned in 1270. Its present look originates from the 16th century, when the owners completely renovated it and changed the fortress-like castle into a Renaissance residence. After World War II the castle was under social ownership and a lot of its interior was destroyed. The building started to decay. After World War II the castle was under general social ownership and at first hosted apartments for miners and their families.
Upon the initiative of the Velenje branch of the Association of mining and metalurgic engineers and technicians there was a solemn signing of the founding document of the Coal Mining Museum of Slovenia on 3 November 1957. It was decided that its headquarters would be in Velenje Castle, which remains the headquarters of Velenje Museum until this day. Today, the operational area of Velenje Museum covers three municipalities of the Šalek Valley (Velenje, Šoštanj and Šmartno ob Paki). It offers ten permanent museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as interesting temporary exhibitions to its visitors. In addition to all the collections that teach visitors about the local history, František Foit’s African collection is particularly worth mentioning, as it is one of the three most important African collections in Slovenia. Collections of the remains of a mastodon and modern Slovenian art are also worth pointing out.
During its years of operation, Velenje Museum acquired another eight dislocated units. The Museum of the Leather Industry in Slovenian Šoštanj tells a story about tanners, the industrialists and the former life in the Šalek Valley in pleasant surroundings. A pearl of the Slovenian folk architecture is definitely the 350-year-old Kavčnik Homestead in Zavodnje nad Šoštanjem, while the winemaking Gril Homestead with a vegetable and herb garden, a beehive, an orchard and a vineyard stands in Lipje pri Velenju. The House of Minerals is situated in Old Velenje and is home to over five thousand minerals from all over the world. The 1991 Memorial Centre presents the Šalek and the Upper Savinja Valley during the independence processes of the Republic of Slovenia. The F-Bunker strengthens and promotes the local photography scene, while another part of the museum are the two memorial rooms in Topolšica and Graška gora. The memorial room in Topolšica is dedicated to the signature of partial German capitulation on 9 May 1945, while the memorial room and the memorial park on the hill of Graška gora are dedicated to the legendary 14th partisan division.