National Museum of Contemporary History


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Contact info
Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije
Celovška cesta 23, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Phone386 (0) 1 300 9600
Fax386 (0) 1 433 8244
Founded byGovernment of the Republic of Slovenia
Kaja Širok, Director
Phone386 (0) 1 300 9611
Urška Purg, Communication office
Phone386 (0) 1 300 9633
Online accounts:
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Past Events
  • 27 November 2018 to 19 January 2019
    The exhibition In Search of Freedom 1968-2018, prepared by the Beletrina Publishing Institute, National Museum of Contemporary History, The History Meeting House, Warsaw, and EUROM Barcelona, supported by the CMEPIUS - Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes, at Castell de Montjuïc in Barcelona, Spain
  • 16 August to 17 August 2018
    Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) presents three documentary films The Breakthrough at Kobarid, Galician Planes in Blood Bath, and Ozadja prestolonaslednikove smrti, all directed by Valentin Pečenko, featuring Valentin Pečenko and Marko Štepec (National Museum of Contemporary History) as guest speakers, at the scientific symposium World War I Through the Eyes of Poles and Slovenes, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Warsaw, at National Museum Przemyśl in Przemyśl, Poland
  • 17 May 2018 to 13 January 2019
    The exhibition What Remains: Traces of Refugees, featuring refugee objects from the National Museum of Contemporary History collection (Being Refugee: A European Narrative project), at Wien Museum Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria
    programme more
  • 8 June 2016
    Museums and their role in the society through the EMEE project, a lecture by Kaja Širok and Urška Purg from the National Museum of Contemporary History, at Design FH JOANNEUM in Graz, Austria
  • 18 January to 20 April 2014
    The exhibition 1914, organised in the framework of Riga - the European Capital of Culture, featuring works by France Kralj and Tone Kralj (Božidar Jakac Gallery), Fran Tratnik (National Museum of Contemporary History), and Ivan Vavpotič (National Gallery of Slovenia) at Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia

National Museum of Contemporary History 2014 01.jpg

The National Museum of Contemporary History originated in 1944 as the Scientific Institute of the Executive Committee of the National Liberation Front (IOOF) and subsequently became the Museum of National Liberation (1948). In 1952, it was relocated to Cekin Mansion, situated in Ljubljana's Tivoli Park, where it still resides today. In 1962, it became the Museum of the People's Revolution, acquiring its current name only in 2003.

It houses collections of items from World Wars I and II, as well as from the period between the wars, the era of socialism, and the later formation of the new Slovene state. It has a branch in Brestanica in the Rajhenburg Castle.


The National Museum of Contemporary History is a state museum responsible for the movable and intangible cultural heritage of 20th-century Slovene history. It houses a fine art and documentation department, a photographic department containing more than a million original photographs, a conservation–restoration workshop, an administration department and a library.


The museum's collections include weapons, military equipment, numismatics, textiles, medals, and decorations, plaques, postcards, photographs, films and videos, badges and signs, rubber stamps, seals and printing blocks, philately, and cartography. A fine art collection, a collection of personal items and documents, and of gifts to the former president Milan Kučan are worth mentioning as well. In 2009, the Slovene Police donated about 30 pieces of weapons from World War II and from other violent skirmishes in Slovene history.

One of the most impressive collections is the comprehensive archive of the photo-reporter Edi Šelhaus (1919–2011) with 2,026 original b/w negatives from World War II and over 137,000 original b/w and colour photographs as well as slides and negatives, donated by the author (in 2000) and his main employee, the Delo Publishing House (in 2009).


Of particular note is the permanent exhibition Slovenes in the 20th Century, opened in 1996 and revised several times, which illustrates the history of Slovenes from 1914 until the present day. The exhibition presents Slovene economic, political, and cultural history in its broadest sense. In addition to turning points in history, such as wars and the foundation of the new state, the exhibition also attempts to illustrate everyday life alongside historical developments. Because of this exhibition, the museum was nominated for the European Museum of the Year Award in 1998.

Some previous temporary exhibitions include We never imagined such a war (World War I through personal stories, 2014), You get the Moon, we get the Gold on the 1970 FIBA World Championship hosted by Ljubljana (2013), Unite, Unite Poor Peasants: persecution of farmers in Slovenia 1945–1955 (2009), The World of Music in the 60s – on the 90th Anniversary of the Photojournalist Edi Šelhaus (2009) about the first Yugoslav jazz festivals between 1960 and 1963 and festivals of popular songs in the 1960s, and memorial exhibitions dedicated to Jože Pučnik and Janez Drnovšek (2008).

In 2013, the National Museum of Contemporary History hosted the popular GOTO 1982 exhibition on computer history. The exhibits came from the Slovene Computer Museum, the Technical Museum of Slovenia, Peek&Poke Museum from Croatia, and Arnes Institute.

Commemorating the centenary of WWI, the temporary exhibition We never imagined such a war was on view up to May 2015. It was based on 13 personal stories that captured the weight of time between 1914 and 1918. The Multimedia Department of the Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the National Museum of Contemporary History and the Park of Military History Pivka released the documentary World War I and the Slovenians. The documentary was also awarded with the Bronze sword at the International Military Film Festival in Warsaw and at the Military Documentary Film Festival: The army and people in Rome.

International cooperation

The museum also prepares exhibitions for touring, for example, the exhibition The Making of Slovenia, which toured to Dublin in 2002, and the exhibition Culture in the National Liberation War, which travelled to Sgonicco near Trieste in 2003. The exhibition entitled There over the Hills is like here, European Themes of Slovene History, accompanied by multilingual catalogues, also toured. The borrowing of museum objects and documents is possible in accordance with state regulations.

From November 2012 to October 2016, the National Museum of Contemporary History participated in the 4-year project EuroVision: Museums Exhibiting Europe (EMEE) in order to establish new creative concepts for audience development. The project was supported by the Culture Programme of the European Commission, and led by the University of Augsburg, Department of History Didactics.

Publications and lectures

The temporary exhibitions are accompanied by catalogues. In addition, the museum publishes its newsletter Museum News twice a year (in Slovenian and English), also available online, and monographs on Slovene recent history, like The Making of Slovenia (in English) in 2009, and video and electronic media, such as Art Collection: Authors and their Works (in Slovenian and English) in 2007.

The museum houses the renovated Knights' Hall with 30 seats, which is suitable for screenings and lectures.

See also

External links


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