The Notranjska Museum Postojna, founded in 1947, covers the area of the Municipality of Postojna, famous around the world as the cradle of karstology. The Notranjska Museum collects and preserves movable cultural heritage and presents documents, photographs, maps and other interpretative materials relating to Postojna Cave and the surrounding Karst landscape. In February 2015, the Karst Museum, a new permanent exhibition and the most comprehensive one on the Karst in Europe, was set up within the Notranjska Museum.
The idea of establishing a museum in the Karst region goes back to before World War I, when speleologist Ivan Andrej Perko proposed opening the Scientific Cave Museum as early as 1912. The concept, however, was realised only after World War II, in 1947, as the Postojna Cave Museum at the initiative of painter Leo Vilhar (1899–1971), who also became its first director.
In 1974, following the merger of its speleological collections with those of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), the museum became a part of the Karst Research Institute and changed its name to the Karst Museum Collection. Following the failure of efforts to establish a Slovene Museum of Karstology in the 1980s, in 1990, the Municipality of Postojna established an autonomous institution, today’s Notranjska Museum Postojna. In February 2015, the new permanent exhibition, the Karst Museum, a unique presentation of the Karst region, opened.
The Notranjska Museum Postojna comprises: an archaeological department (with a collection of more than 1000 objects from all archaeological periods found in the Notranjska and Karst region); an ethnological department (a collection of material, spiritual and social culture items); a biological department (a collection of zoological, botanical and osteological items and a collection of cave beetles from the Slovene and also Balkan peninsula); a history department (a collection of items from, for example, the National Liberation Struggle, items of relevance to cultural history, items about the history of the Postojna region or Postojna Cave); a conservation-restoration workshop and a Pedagogical-andragogical department.
The Karst Museum, a comprehensive Karst exhibition
The Notranjska Museum Postojna is a central Slovene institution dedicated exclusively to the history and the present of the exceptional world phenomenon, the Karst, and its rich natural and cultural heritage.
The presentation is dynamically conceived as it contains documentary material, interactive displays, for example, those of 11,693 caves located around Slovenia, valuable and rare objects and materials relating to the surrounding Karst landscape. The museum also organises different workshops and expert meetings related to Karst topics.
In 2006, the museum cooperated together with the Institute for Conservation and Restoration in the multimedia project All Season Sounds of Planinsko polje, to present the aural environment of Planinsko polje over a year.
The museum administers various satellites, including the iron forge (Fužina) at Grahovo and Kravanjeva House in Cerknica, and it owns some museum items at the Predjama Castle. Fužina is building of about 250 years, protected as a cultural and natural monument and defined as an open-air museum.
The museum also manages a small memorial room dedicated to the local writer Alojz Kraigher (1877–1959) at Postojna Culture House, which can be visited by appointment.