The Carinthian Regional Museum was founded in June 2002 by a decree issued by twelve municipalities of the Koroška region.
Creation of the new museum, whose mission is the public service of protecting movable cultural heritage, was achieved through a merger of the Carinthian Museum Ravne and Carinthian Regional Museum Slovenj Gradec. The museum’s exhibition activity is a result of researching and collecting materials, documentary work, of conservation and restoration carried out by curators and employees of restoration workshops.
After two years of preparation, the District Museum of National Liberation Struggle was established in Slovenj Gradec in 1951. In the ensuing fifty years this museum moved beyond the framework of the People’s Revolution Museum and its focus on the 2nd World War period. Due to the expansion of its scope, the museum was granted regional museum status in 1981. Idea of the museum’s further development was driven by a need for expansion from a narrowly specialized museum into an institution with a wide variety of general activities. General museum status was thus achieved ten years later, in 1991. In the 1990s the museum was developing a whole range of activities by establishing the archaeological department in 1992 and the ethnological department in 1997, educational activities became more clearly defined and the conservation-restoration workshop started its work in 1995 (in addition to the museum acquiring more adequate depots).
Setting up of a water-powered hammer (repač) in Ravne na Koroškem in 1953 marked the foundation of the Proletarian Museum, which occurred two years after the establishment of the Slovenj Gradec museum. In its initial years the Proletarian Museum did not have any full-time employees and was run by a board of directors. From 1966 to 1991 the Proletarian Museum had the status of an organizational unit within the framework of the then Študijska knjižnica (Study Library) Ravne na Koroškem. In 1991 the museum became an independent institute and, a year later, was renamed to become the Carinthian Museum Ravne. Economic history collections were being created in the interest of protecting movable cultural heritage, followed by the ethnological and mining collections in Črna na Koroškem and in 1979 the Prežihov Voranc Memorial Museum – Prežihov Voranc cottage was set up.
In 2003 the museum administration was moved to a new location: to the so-called “perzonali” (residential buildings for factory workers), which are part of the monument protection complex of the old swaging forge situated inside the former Ravne Ironworks.
Carinthian Regional Museum at the present time comprises administration and individual departments: Department of Archaeology, Department of Ethnology, Department of History, Department of Cultural and Art History, Documentation Department and the Educational Services Department. In addition to these departments, there are joint restoration workshops located in Ravne.