20th century Celje experienced by three generations; the notorious Stari pisker prison (meaning: Old Pot), one of Europe’s most beautiful glass photography studios and the only children's museum in Slovenia.
One of the greatest charms of traveling and exploring cities comes to light when you get closer to the lifestyle and the soul of the locals. It is through this prism that one can learn on which basis the local architecture and lifestyles, everyday habits and festive customs have developed. At the Museum of Recent History Celje, you will find out all about the past century. Meet the people who lived in the block towns outside the city centre and see some old toys. Come along the Pelikan Photo Atelier and Gallery, a 20th century glass photography studio famous all over Europe where you can relive old-fashioned photography. Near the museum you will find the Stari pisker (meaning: Old Pot), a notorious prison in Celje reminiscent of Slovenian victims of Nazism. In addition to permanent exhibitions, there are also temporary exhibitions going on. The Museum of Recent History Celje is located in the old town hall of Celje. It has been there since 1951. Under different names, it has maintained the cultural heritage with exhibitions, museum collections, stories and personal testimonies. In the present fast-paced hustle and bustle of life, visiting this museum helps slow you down and have a nostalgic journey through the 20th century.
Living in Celje
So, what did life in Celje look like in the 20th century? This is what you can find out about at the permanent exhibition called Living in Celje. At the craftsmen’s workshops in the Craftsman Street, new things were created every day. Take a peek inside and stroll through the Main Square past the pharmacy and bourgeois apartment along the footpaths of the city promenade. Take a look at the Three Generation Diaries; together with museum items, these will bring you closer to 20th century life in Celje. The last part of the exhibition serves as a memorial to the workers of Celje, the important work culture and work as a value.
In Herman’s Den, the only children’s museum in Slovenia, the history of toys for children up to the age of 12 is presented. There, the rich Slovenian movable heritage is collected, preserved and exhibited. Visitors are guided through the museum by Herman the Fox, the mascot. The museum is home to the permanent exhibition called Den of Toys, presenting 400 toys from Slovenia from different time periods. You can also visit some temporary exhibitions to bring children closer to the past and help understand the present. The mission of the Herman’s Den Children’s Museum is marked by children’s rights and duties. The museum is adapted to the sensory and movement impaired.
Pelikan Photo Atelier and Gallery
Before smart phones with cameras appeared, photography was a real adventure that you can still get to know at the Pelikan Photo Atelier. One of Europe’s most beautifully preserved glass photo ateliers capable of manipulating daylight was commissioned by photographer Josip Pelikan at the turn of the 20th century. You can have a closer view at the gallery and the retouching workshop, as well as a peek into the darkroom. Upon a prior arrangement, you can use old techniques to take photos of yourself in the rays of light that penetrate the glass roof. You can upgrade your photography experience with costumes from the early 20th century and gift your memories as a present – with vouchers for artistic photographs in a glass studio.
Stari pisker, a former Minorite monastery, became a prison during the German occupation. In there, the locals, anti-fascists, and members or supporters of the resistance movement were kept imprisoned. In 1941 and 1942, as many as 374 hostages were shot dead in the prison courtyard. Today’s Stari pisker is part of the Museum of Recent History Celje, where you can visit a memorial room serving as a memorial site reminiscent of the victims of Nazism.
In addition to the toy exhibition, the Museum of Recent History features another unique collection: the dental care collection. What tools did dentists use in their work in the 20th century? Meet the medical technical heritage of Slovenian dentistry. You will not find this in any other museum in the country.