THE IRON INDUSTRY MUSEUM, A SWAGING FORGE, AND THE SLOVENIAN TRAIL OF IRON CULTURE

In 1994, the oldest preserved buildings in the area of the Ravne Steelworks factory were declared cultural monuments, and donated to the Municipality of Ravne na Koroškem in 2002. The preserved buildings comprised a swaging forge, an administrative and residential building, as well as a laboratory.

The museum display includes the preserved instruments and machines, which were previously part of the open-air display at the Ravne Castle park (a water-powered hammer, roll mills, a crane, and a locomotive), as well as the instruments and machines the Ravne Steelworks factory preserved to be displayed (various types of hammers, electric arc furnace, and other objects). A steam boiler from a brickworks factory near Ljubljana, as well as a press from 1890 used in one of Maribor's factories are also on display at the museum. A variety of means of production, the produced objects, objects from the lives of ironworkers, as well as documents and photographs are included in the exhibition. The extensive photographic archive which is a part of the exhibition is an invaluable source of information on the topic.

 

Mother Factory – Ravne Steelworks

The Mother Factory exhibition tells the story of the Ravne Steelworks factory with a centuries-long tradition which began to thrive after World War II and caused an economic uprise of not only Ravne na Koroškem but of the entire region. Because of the employees' innovativeness and creativity, the company became one of the best steelworks in the country, and was one of the first in Europe to introduce computer-integrated manufacturing, therefore successfully selling high-grade steel and various other products.

A special area of the exhibition called "When Steel Speaks" offers a unique experience for visitors, educating them about steel as the factory's primary element, as well as enabling them to express their own thoughts and feelings by using different media (sound, symbols, movement, etc.).

A part of the museum display pays special attention to children: small magnets with symbols direct children's attention and encourage in-depth and symbolic perception.

The Slovenian Trail of Iron Culture

The Slovenian Trail of Iron Culture project (a society of the same name has also been founded) dates back to 2003 when, on the initiative of their Hungarian colleagues, the Municipality of Ravne na Koroškem founded an initiative committee, uniting all Slovenian regional museums which are preserving the iron-making heritage with the Štore Steel Ltd. and the Kovintrade PLC factories.

The project's goal was to explore the history and the lifestyle of ironworkers; to promote the iron- and steel-making heritage in Slovenia; to celebrate Slovenian steel-making factories and the Slovenian metal industry, and to become part of the Central-European Iron Trail. A programme of work was set by the initiative committee, resulting in an international expert consultation, as well as an exhibition prepared in cooperation with Slovenian museums and steel-making factories.

This is the first comprehensive exhibition of the iron-making history on the Slovenian territory, which also presents the role of the Meža Valley in the development of the European iron- and steel-making industry.

The museum interpretation of objects at the former Ravne Steelworks factory represents a new and important opportunity for suitable specialised promotion of Koroška's and Slovenia's industrial heritage, as well as an opportunity for researching and presenting the working-class culture.

Reproduced from: Koroška Regional Museum (www.kpm.si)

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