Many museums around Slovenia hold materials from non-European countries in their collection, including objects from Africa. Three museums particularly emphasise African collections, which are part of their permanent exhibitions already for decades. The Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Velenje Museum and Carinthian Regional Museum present, through exhibitions and different museum programs, the rich heritage of African cultures to the wider public. This includes objects from pharaonic Egypt to modern creations of African artists.
The Slovene Ethnographic Museum carefully documents all forms of connections between Slovenians and Africa that have been continuously in existence since the 19th century. Besides the rich material heritage, the museum keeps also an important collection of photographs and archival documents.
The permanent exhibition at the Velenje Museum has been already for many years presenting the exceptional life story of the Czech sculptor, writer, and traveller, František Foit. Complicated circumstances brought him and his wife Irena from Kenya to Velenje. Consequently, today the visitors can admire the picturesque collection of masks, statues, and traditional sculptural products of Foit’s students, exhibited within the castle.
The Carinthian Regional Museum keeps a diverse collection of Dr Franc Tretjak, an economist and one of the leading Slovenian experts for the analysis and development of the African economy in the period of the Non-Aligned Movement. While his collection, photographic and film archives are important, the crucial is his literary view on Africa – realistic, critical, and visionary.
The group exhibition project Africa of the Three Museums was created to commemorate the first African exhibition in 1850, and its author Dr Ignacij Knoblehar (1819–1858), a missionary and explorer of the White Nile. At the celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, we wish that spiritual and material heritage of African peoples in the three Slovenian museums would enrich our knowledge on that part of the world that is considered a cradle of humankind.
Dr Marko Frelih (Slovene Ethnographic Museum)