The Apicultural Museum in Radovljica
The Beekeeping Museum is placed in the baroque manor house and displays an essential part of Slovenian history and culture in general - the rich tradition of beekeeping.
As early as about the middle of the twenties, several apiarists of high repute exerted themselves to found an apicultural museum. This plan was realized in the year 1959, when the first and sole such museum was opened.
In the biological room of the museum the life and the productivity of our Grey Bees from Carniola are represented. In summer the behavior of the honeybee can be watched live, too.
The Slovene apiculture has contributed to the Slovene folk art an indispensable share, i. e. the painted front-boards of the kranjic beehives, which appeared in the mid 18th century. The older motifs are religious; before the end of the 18th century, profane motifs appeared. The acme of the illustrated beehive front-boards continued sixty years (1820-1860). In those days, this painting spread over the entire Slovene share in the Alps. This part of the exhibition is placed in the central room of the museum.
In the open, the bees chose for their residence underground holes or hollow trees. After these patterns, the apiarist prepared beehives of cut-to-shape logs, or (in corn land, e. g. Bela Krajina - south-east of Slovenia or in Prekmurje - nord-east of Slovenia) of straw. A considerable advance of bee-keeping was rendered possible by the cultivation of buckwheat in the 15th century, promising a plentiful pasture in autumn. Later on, the bee- keepers began to built beehives of boards, which were easier to work. A beehive timbered of boards is mentioned 1689 by Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693) in his book Die Ehre der Herzogtums Krain (Honour of the Duchy of Carniola). Since the 18th century, the horizontal beehive timbered of boards was already in general use.
The exposed implements comprise: devices for smoking the bees out; for drawing the honey out; for pressing the wax; sundry feeding devices for the bees, and a vehicle for transporting the bees to their meadow. This transport was practiced already in the 17th century by Slovene bee-keepers. Anton Janša (1734-1773), teacher of apiculture in Vienna, has introduced there this kind of transport. Janša is one of the prominent Slovene apiarists, and one of the first in the world to discover that the drone fecundates the queen-bee outside the bee-hive.
One part of the museum shows all jobs of beekeeper through the year (modern beekeeping equipment, video) and includes multimedia, which represents bee pastures, biology, products and symbolism of the bee, Slovene literature and beekeepers, bee dwellings, beekeeper's principal tasks and Slovene phenomenon- painted front-boards of beehives.
The last room of Apicultural museum serves as display room for periodical exhibitions (bee-products and their use in medicine and cosmetics, hand fretted moulds, gingerbread, copies of painted front boards...).
Ida Gnilsak, custodian
Apicultural Museum, The Radovljica Commune Museums (home page)
Linhartov trg 1