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Intermunicipal Museum of Kamnik




Farming structures, Livestock breeding, Straw-work

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Etnološka zbirka

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Ethnological collection

The collection consists of museum objects providing the visitors with insight into everyday, usual and typical cultural forms and contents of everyday life of certain social classes and groups, which had been giving the wider Domžale-Kamnik region a special character. The collection comprises objects, talking about work and products, made by individual occupational groups (e.g. tools used by Kamnik shoemakers, products made by Moravče and Komenda potters, products from the straw-hat industry in Domžale and its surroundings), as well as about everyday life of social classes, for example, of Kamnik citizens and peasants. The ethnological collection consists mainly of objects from everyday and festive life of peasants. Three subcollections, presenting diversity of the region, should be highlighted: the straw-hat collection, the architectural heritage of granaries from Tuhinj Valley and the Vlasto Kopač herdsmen’s collection from Velika Planina.

Curator: M. A. Zora Torkar, historian and ethnologist, museum counsellor

Straw-hat collection

Ethnologist Majda Fister founded the collection of straw-hats in 1964 and linked it to ethnological exploring of straw-hat trade and industry in Domžale, which was one of the most recognizable and most profitable activities in this region from the middle of the 19th century till the end of World War I. The turning point in development of straw-hat industry (at the beginning it was a handicraft and at the end of the 18th century it turned to industry) was arrival of Tyrol businessmen in 1866, after Austria had lost Veneto. They moved the straw-hat industry to Domžale, started to build factories here and equip them with machines. The collection presents tools and accessories, used at home for plaiting and sewing as well as tools, used in handicraft and industrial plants, such as smoothing irons for plaits, sewing machines, models for hats, boxes for transportation of hats, semi-products and various models of straw-hats.


Collection of granaries and other outbuildings

In the years from 1968 to 1973 the Kamnik Museum ethnologist Majda Fister with technical assistance of Zavod za varstvo kulturne dediščine (Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage) in Kranj, purchased and transferred from Tuhinj Valley to the plateau in front of the Museum four granaries, a drying house and a well. The granaries and other outbuildings were numbered at their place of origin, drew and dismantled, and mounted again at the plateau in front of the Museum. This was a base for a permanent collection of granaries from Tuhinj Valley or an open-air museum, which was one of the first of that kind in Slovenia.

The granaries in the open-air museum, the oldest being from 1793, are made of wood and straw-thatched. The oldest granary also exhibits its entire former inventory. This way the visitors learn about the architectural heritage which has now become nearly extinct. The open-air museum of granaries from Tuhinj Valley, as an example of restored and presented monuments of folk architecture, was designated as a cultural monument by Ordinance designating the Kamnik historic centre as cultural and historical monument (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 42/1986).

You can find more about granaries in publication: Majda and Peter Fister: Kašče v Tuhinjski dolini, Kamniški zbornik 1969, pp. 91-128.

Vlasto Kopač herdsmen’s collection from Velika Planina

Vlasto Kopač (1913-2006), an architect, mountaineer, alpinist, illustrator and publicist, expert in the natural and cultural heritage, was able to bring the needs and wishes of contemporary men in line with cultural tradition. The greatest monument of his work is Velika Planina. In the winter of 1945, the original herdsmen’s huts on Velika Planina were burnt down. Only the Preskar hut was built anew in its original form and in accordance with old construction techniques. In spite of strong pressure in the fifties of the 20th century to build large common cooperative stalls, Kopač managed to preserve the original herdsmen’s settlement. Nevertheless, the blossom of tourism acquired changes also on Velika Planina. In the sixties many tourist cottages were built according to the plans of the architect Vlasto Kopač, and are in their appearance very similar to the herdsmen’s cottages. This way the whole Velika Planina region preserved its herdsmen’s architecture.  

Since his first visit in 1935 and even after the retirement, Vlasto Kopač was returning to Velika Planina for almost 70 years. He learned not only about the mountainous architecture, which he tried to follow from prehistory and compared it to other herdsmen’s settlements, but also about the herdsmen’s work, accessories, and everyday life. He was thoroughly writing down all the findings, documented them with his camera, or rather with a pencil, pen and a sketchbook. In decades he created a very rich collection of notes, photos, sketches, plans, drawings, maps, illustrations and a remarkable collection of herdsmen’s objects from Velika Planina.

After Vlasto Kopač died in 2006, there occurred an opportunity to transfer this unique herdsmen’s collection to the Kamnik Museum. This was also the V. Kopač’s wish and something his daughter, the architect Mojca Kopač, was striving for. In September 2007 a collection of Vlasto Kopač was purchased with financial help of the Kamnik municipality. After the material had been inventoried and documented, the Museum acquired 486 objects. The collection of herdsmen’s objects, which was started already in the thirties of the 20th century, helps the visitors to learn about life and work of herdsmen, their principal equipment, which they needed during the season pasture in the mountains, vessels and accessories for making cheese and butter, various tools, cattle outfit, furniture and clothes.

You can find more about the collection in the catalogue by Zora Torkar: “Velika Planina: Herdsmen’s Heritage from the Vlasto Kopač Collection”. Kamnik: Intermunicipal Museum of Kamnik, 2008.


The correctness of the information above is not guaranteed by the ETNOFOLK Portal.