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Founders

Slovenian teachers’ associations joined together to form the Union of Slovenian Teachers’ Associations, based in Ljubljana. The Union strengthened and consolidated the national and professional identity and consciousness among Slovenian teachers. The associations held annual meetings accompanied by occasional school exhibitions. The first permanent exhibition of teaching aids was set up by the Educational Society in Krško in 1888, and the second by the school administration in the Ledina school in Ljubljana in 1892, where the school museum was established six years later.

Razglednica Upravnega odbora Zaveze
Upravni odbor Zaveze ob 25-letnici / Fototeka, SŠM

Establishment

At its annual meeting on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph, the Union of Slovenian Teachers’ Associations established the School Museum of Slovenian and Istrian-Croatian Teachers, which was opened in the first municipal boys’ school in Ledina. By collecting old and purchasing new schoolbooks, the museum’s activities were aimed primarily at teachers for their further education and training. Teachers’ associations were among the first to donate particularly rich book material to the museum. The museum was the first special museum and the first national Slovenian museum.

Prva državna deška ljudska šola Ledina v Ljubljani
Prva državna deška ljudska šola Ledina v Ljubljani / Fototeka, SŠM

Interrupted operation

After short-term placements and transfers from one primary school to another, to a bar-room space, and finally finding shelter in the Ljubljana Castle, the museum ceased to function due to the Union’s financial problems and lack of space. The collected books were stored in the basement of the Teachers’ Printing House, and the collected teaching aids were sold and donated to the Society of Sts Cyril and Methodius for their schools in Trieste. World War I and its aftermath put an end to the idea of an imminent restoration of the museum, which was never entirely lost among the teachers.

Učiteljska tiskarna v Ljubljani
Učiteljska tiskarna v Ljubljani / Fototeka, SŠM

Re-establishment

The Royal Banate Administration established the Museum of Slovenian Primary Education in the experimental primary school in Bežigrad. Teachers also wanted to learn about the historical development of Slovenian education from its beginnings to the present times. The museum began to collect museum and documentary material from Slovenian primary schools, and the plan was also to collect material from secondary schools and to establish a museum of Slovenian secondary education. The most attractive items were the textbooks, teaching aids, and curricula used in schools on Slovenian territory.

Rudolf Kobilica, 1938
Rudolf Kobilica, pedagoški vodja poskusne šole in pobudnik ustanovitve

Renaming to its current title

In 1943, the collected museum material was put into crates and stored in the National University Library, and in 1944, a small part of it was stored in the basement of the Education Department of the Regional Administration in Tomšičeva Street. After the war, in 1945, the material was transferred to the Teachers’ College and, in 1946, to the Ledina primary school in Ljubljana. In 1949, the Museum of Slovenian Education – Department of Primary Schools in Ljubljana was renamed the Slovenian School Museum, and its scope of work was extended to include the entire field of education in Slovenia..

Učiteljišče v Ljubljani (1869–1964)
Učiteljišče v Ljubljani (1869–1964) / Fototeka, SŠM

Internal organisation by department

Beginning of a systematic inventory of the museum’s materials and objects and the organisation of collections. The reorganisation of the museum as a whole led to the creation of three core departments: the exhibition collection, the teaching library, and the archives. This division was the basis and guide for the classification of the museum’s objects and materials. The principle was that a school museum should not be a repository of books, textbooks, etc., but should seek constant contact with teachers and the public and should publish reports on the material it collected. Gradually, a documentation centre for the history of education and a photo library were created.

Primer mape šole
Mape šol na podlagi anketnih vprašanj vsebujejo osnovne podatke o zgodovini vsake šole / Fototeka, SŠM

From school to school dormitory

As the Ledina School was in urgent need of new classrooms, the Slovenian School Museum was moved to Poljanska Street to the premises of the Ivan Cankar Dormitory (DIC), which until 1945 had been the home of the Marijanišče private educational institution. The area of the museum premises was increased to 274 square metres, which was an increase by more than half as compared to the museum area at the Ledina School. The museum was adequately equipped, but the main drawback was that the exhibition rooms were too small. The museum preserved a large amount of historical material, which was made accessible to serve researchers in the field of educational history.

Razstavni hodnik muzeja na Poljanski cesti
Razstavni hodnik muzeja na Poljanski cesti / Fototeka, SŠM

Permanent exhibition in the former Ursuline schools

After the museum moved to the premises of the former Ursuline schools at Plečnik Square 1 (1984), the first part of the permanent exhibition Education in Slovenia through the Centuries (from prehistoric times to the Spring of Nations in 1848) was opened in the former school corridor in 1988, followed by the second part (until Slovenian independence) in four stages between 1999 and 2006. Exhibition catalogues were published for each part of the permanent exhibition, and the museum also printed several publications on the history of education in Slovenia and catalogues of temporary exhibitions.

Stalna razstava na hodniku nekdanjih uršulinskih šol
Stalna razstava na hodniku nekdanjih uršulinskih šol / Fototeka, SŠM

Publication of its own journal, School Chronicle

During the period of socialist Yugoslavia, the museum was associated with similar museums in Zagreb and Belgrade, with which it published a joint journal, Compendium for the History of Schooling and Education, from 1964. After the independence of Slovenia, in 1992, the museum began publishing its own journal, School Chronicle – Journal for the History of Schooling and Education, which is the only journal in the Republic of Slovenia in the field of educational history. The journal regularly publishes scientific and professional articles on school history and school memories, reports on museum work and reviews of publications.

Naslovnica prve številke samostojne revije Šolska kronika
Naslovnica prve številke samostojne revije Šolska kronika 1992 / Fototeka, SŠM

Historical lessons

The introduction of active methods of museum work led to a new approach to visitors. Visiting the museum was no longer just about seeing exhibitions or taking part in a museum workshop but also about the experience provided by historical lessons based on old educational methods and themes. By the early 1920s, the programme had gradually expanded to 14 different themes from different periods in the history of education. To implement the extensive programme, the museum recruited external staff according to an elaborate educational plan, which opened the museum even more to the outside world with new visitors.

Prizor na učni uri v stari učilnici
Prizor na učni uri v stari učilnici, OŠ Ledina 2023 / Fototeka, SŠM

Opening of the new permanent exhibition School = Rules

Following a complete renovation of the exhibition space, an interactive permanent exhibition has been created in accordance with modern museological principles and the latest findings in the field of educational history. The exhibition presents the historical development of schooling and education in Slovenia from prehistoric times to the present day and will also reach into the future with a cloud classroom. In a small space, it opens up a view of a wide range of topics in a variety of ways. It is unique in terms of the composition and layout of the exhibition elements, as well as in the interpretation of the exhibition content, and differs from the traditional arrangements that have been used so far. The opening of the exhibition also marked the end of the two-year Covid-19 epidemic.

Nova stalna razstava Šola je zakon
Nova stalna razstava Šola je zakon / Foto: Urška Boljkovac, SŠM

Transfer of the activities of the Sports Museum to the Slovenian School Museum

With the entry into force of the Decision of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, the activities of the Sports Museum were transferred from the Planica Institute of Sports of the Republic of Slovenia to the Slovenian School Museum on 1 February 2022. The Slovenian School Museum, which provides a public service in the field of school and educational heritage, also took over the care of sports heritage and the development of museum activities in the field of sport and physical culture. With the new job classification, increased financial support and planned new premises, both the Slovenian School Museum and the Sports Museum have the prospect of better conditions for carrying out their activities and the museum’s mission.

Razstava o športni dediščini v Slovenskem šolskem muzeju 17. novembra 2022
Razstava o športni dediščini v Slovenskem šolskem muzeju 17. 11. 2022 / Foto: Urška Bolkjovac, SŠM