Monday , December 17 2018

Museum of Apiculture Radovljica

Linhartov trg 1, 4240 Radovljica

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Museum of Apiculture Radovljica

Linhartov trg 1, 4240 Radovljica

Since opening in 1959, this museum has specialised in maintaining the heritage of Slovenian beekeeping by keeping records, collecting, storing, documenting, representing and popularising this tradition. Its quarters are in the Baroque Mansion House in the old part of the town.

The museum’s exhibits represent the three key themes that markSlovenian beekeeping: an indigenous race of beesworld renowned beekeepers and painted beehive panels.

In the introduction to the museum, the visitor is acquainted with the history of beekeeping in Slovenia. The first room covers the work of the renowned beekeepers, Anton Janša and Peter Pavel Glavar, known also for their teaching and writing on this subject. Beekeeping from its early days, when hollow tree trunks were being used, up until the middle of the 19th century is exhibited.

Anton Janša (1734–1773) was appointed as a teacher of beekeepingat the Beekeeping School in Vienna by decree of the Empress Maria Theresa. His two books show his own method of beekeeping that he successfully implemented at the school together with some important findings pertaining to the biology of bees.

The priest Peter Pavel Glavar (1721–1784) was a successful farm and beekeeping manager. He wrote suggestions for improvements in beekeeping, proposed the introduction of beekeeping schools and is the author of the first Slovenian beekeeping text (a translation and amendment of Janša’s “A treatise on bee swarming”.

The material in the second room covers the period from the middle of the 19th century to the mid 20th century. Besides displaying perfected beekeeping tools and various types of beehives one can also see information about: the world renowned Jan Strgar (a breeder and merchant of queen bees) and Mihael Ambrožič (a merchant of live bees), the designer of the modern beehive and Anton Žnideršič, a prominent writer on the subject of beekeeping and beekeeping literature. 

The central part of museum is dedicated to the display of painted frontal boards of bee hives – panjske končniceIn the middle of the 18th century, painted decorations began to appear on the frontal sides of popular beehives, known as kranjiči’. The templates for the motifs used in these paintings were representations of sacral art, the illustrated bible, icons, glass paintings and graphic sheets.

Today, all the known motifs include over 600 varieties. Older and more numerous are those motifs with a sacral content (mostly representing saints). Among the most common are Mary as the universal protector, also depicted on the oldest known painted frontal board (dating back to 1758) and St. Florian. The group of secular motifs is composed of imaginary scenes (e.g. animals in human roles, ridiculing craftsmen, human faults), hunting scenes, historic themes (military scenes, historic figures) and scenes from everyday life.

Beehive painting, which was most prolific between 1820 and 1880, started to die away with the transition into the 20th century. Painting on the frontal panels of beehives is a particularity of the Slovenian Alpine region and is an indispensable part of Slovenian folk art.

The biological room serves to acquaint visitors with the biology of the indigenous Slovenian Carniolan bee (Kranjska čebela) or the Grey bee of Carniola (Kranjska sivka). Close-up photographs of bees, an introduction to the bees’ main pastures, sounds from beehives, live bees in an observation beehive (from spring to autumn) and further photos of bees’ pastures vividly show the life and labour of bees. The main theme is rounded off by the introduction of symbolism that is expressed by the image of a bee (e.g. medals, money).

Modern day beekeeping is illustrated by a part of a beehive typical of theGorenjska region in its actual size and with a modern day beekeeping framework. The space is simultaneously used to show video recordings about beekeeping in Slovenia.

The path through the museum ends in the room for occasional andcasual exhibitions that pertain to beekeeping (e.g. an exhibition of carved models for honey pastries, a representation of a maker of copies of frontal boards, products made by kindergarten and elementary school children).