The Museum of Ribnica was founded in 1958 on the initiative of the Ribnica Museum Society. Stationed within the grounds of the Ribnica Castle, the museum houses a permanent exhibition focusing on the ethnographic heritage of the people from Ribnica and surroundings, as well as a broader historic take on witch trials. Temporary exhibitions are also organised.
The museum is, as of 2011, managed by the Public Institute Ribnica Handicraft Centre. The centre is also responsible for the Mikl House Gallery, a separate museum shop and the proliferation of the local handicraft tradition.
View of Ribnica Castle, Museum of Ribnica.
Ribnica Museum's main permanent exhibition – Wooden Ware and Pottery – is focused on its handicraft and cottage industries tradition, very typical of the region. It includes vessels, spoons, flooring, joinery products, tools, turned articles, wickerwork and toothpicks. A curious and well-known pottery artefact is a horse-shaped clay instrument, the "horse that whistles through its rear".
Wooden Ware and Pottery, permanent exhibition, Museum of Ribnica, 2013.
The second part of the permanent exhibition presents the material history of Ribnica. The archaeological exhibition on the oldest settlement in the Ribnica Valley depicts a remarkable prehistoric hill fort surrounded by three ramparts. Documents from the 14th century first mention Ribnica's suha roba, wooden arts and crafts. With the 1492 merchant decree of Emperor Friderik III, suha roba spread all over the Holy Roman Empire and provided the economic self-esteem to the people of the region who built-up Ribnica as a religious and cultural centre.
Bloody Fight with the Witch Menace, permanent exhibition, Museum of Ribnica, 2013.
Located in the defence tower of the castle is an exhibition bearing the name Bloody Fight with the Witch Menace. Focusing on the infamous witch trials during the 16th to 18th centuries, the exhibition presents the history of this troubling practice and among other things exhibits torture devices and documents from the actual trial of a witch hunt which took place in Ribnica in 1701 (one of the last recorded witch trials in Slovenia).
Dislocated sites and collections
A few minutes from the Ribnica Museum, an original blacksmith forge from the 19th century is preserved and on display.
The premises of the Ribnica Handicraft Centre at the nearby manor called Marof also holds an exhibition dedicated to Dr Zmaga Kumer, who devoted her life to studying folk music and was an important member of the ethno-musicological community in Slovenia and Europe.
Dr. Zmaga Kumer Memorial Room, Museum of Ribnica, 2013.