In cooperation with a group of locals from Mežica and its surroundings a permanent ambient installation about Mežica miners’ housing culture was set up in the administrative-residential building of the former Mežica Lead and Zinc Mine in 2001.
This exhibition represents a section of permanent collections of the tourist mine and museum “Podzemlje Pece” (Underground of the Peca Mountain). Housing culture is presented through authentic objects characteristic for the lifestyle of a mining official’s family around the year 1940.
The exhibition is located in a space that has until recently been used as a residence. We enter it through a vestibule that leads into the bedroom or the kitchen. Some interior decorations and exhibited artefacts have been newly acquired, some have been in the possession of the Carinthian Regional Museum and a part of the exhibited objects is authentic – these objects were located in the actual flat.
Objective of the ambient installation is achieving (already at the entrance) the impression of an inhabited dwelling. Firewood is stacked on the outside terrace with a bench, and there is a wooden doormat in front of the entrance. Miners’ clothes, shoe shelves (“stalaže”), washing items etc. are exhibited in the vestibule. The kitchen is fitted with a masonry cooker (“šporhert”) with accessories, a washbasin (“vaserštok”), a simple dining-room table with chairs, small cupboard (“gredenca”) with typical kitchenware inside, and a settee. There is little wall decoration: some decorative protective fabric (“vandšonarji”), a wall clock and a cross in the corner. A double bed with two bedside tables and a separate bed can be found in the bedroom, with a sewing machine and a cradle next to the window. Two large closets are situated next to the inner wall of the bedroom. In addition to a tiled masonry oven there is a clothes drawer standing in the corner behind the door. The bedroom’s decorative accessories, such as curtains and table napkins, have been made especially for this exhibition. To offer a more visually-appealing presentation, mannequins have been added to the ambient installation: a miner, who has just returned from work and is washing himself, the miner’s wife preparing lunch and a child sitting at the table and waiting for the meal. A dummy of an infant has been placed in the cradle in the bedroom. All the mannequins have been created by Boni Čeh, an academically-trained painter.
Carinthian Regional Museums provides its expertise.
Contact: + 386 2 62 12 520 (reception), +386 2 87 00 180 (reception Tourist mine and museum Podzemlje Pece)
Location: Tourist mine and museum Podzemlje Pece (Underground of the Peca Mountain), Glančnik 6, Mežica