Liptov Museum in Ružomberok
The Liptov Museum in Ružomberok is one of the largest regional museums in Slovakia. It offers a lot of interesting things to learn about the living and the inanimate nature of Liptov, as well as about the history of our region.
It is situated in the centre of the town, at “Š.N. Hýroša” Square, near a park with the same name and in the immediate neighbourhood of Ľ. Fulla Gallery.
The following exhibitions are open to the public: Geology, Palaeontology and Plant Biology, Zoology, Archaeology, Feudalism and Guilds, Ethnography and Sacral Art of Liptov, Liptov History 1848 – 1945, Life and Work of A. Hlinka, History of Paper Production Development in Slovakia.
The museum building has three floors, originally it only had two. The museum also includes a specialized library open to general public.
The palaeontological collections include interesting finds of skeletal material. The finds from the area of Bešeňová – quarry include fragments of pelvis, brain area of the skull, jaw and a canine tooth of a lion, a jaw fragment, and from Vyšný Sliač there is a heel bone and teeth of the Merck’s rhinoceros. The finds from “Važecká” Cave include a skull and a canine tooth of the cave bear, and the finds from “Okno” Cave in the Demänovská Valley include skeleton remains of the cave lion, phalanges of weasel-family predators and a jaw fragment of the northern wolverine. Chamois skull fragments come from “Medvedia” Cave in Hučiaky, in the Ludrovská Valley, from “Demänovská” Ice Cave and from “Chladných očí” Cave in the Front Choč Mountains – Volová. In the collections of invertebrates, we can find embedded bodies of sea crabs from the areas of Ružomberok – Mních and Kubalov quarry.
The group of botanical collections consists of 5,247 herbarium items and 57 plants embedded in Canada balsam. The most precious one of the collections is the herbarium called “Kvetena Tatier” by Václav Vraný, collected before 1886.
Well-represented in the zoological collections are invertebrates, but also vertebrates, in a smaller number. The collection of invertebrates consists of collections of butterflies by Ing. Stanislav Nemček, Jozef Veselý, collections of beetles by Ing. Kudlička, Jozef Veselý, and a collection of fleas and mites from small terrestrial mammals by RNDr. Alexander Dudich. The vertebrates are represented by numerous skin conservations of mammals, birds, fish and hunting trophies. Of particular interest are gold hunting trophies (of Eurasian Lynx, brown bear, red deer, wild boar, roe deer), skulls of Tatra marmots, a conservation of a great catch of Danubian salmon, a female black grouse, a black-form European viper, horns of an Alpine ibex from hybrid breeding of prince Hohenlohe from Javorina.
The archaeology exhibition focuses on the investigation of the earliest inhabitants in Liptov. The finds in the museum are mostly from the Bronze Age, but there are also a few from the Stone Age and the Iron Age. A significant find of a bull sculpture has been preserved from the Stone Age, which serves as an evidence of the use and the knowledge of draft animals in the final period of the Stone Age. As for the Bronze Age, there is a collection of bronze Sibiu earrings, originally from “Liskovská” Cave. An interesting part of the collection are the so-called Liptov-type swords, made of bronze with a solid cast hilt. Almost all of them have rich engraved ornaments on the hilt. A dominant feature of the archaeological exhibition located right at the entrance to the room is a wrought iron kettle made of thick sheet metal with four cross handles. In 1973, a bronze knife with a solid handle was found in Ludrová. Brought to the museum from Vyšné Malatíny was a bronze diadem with two rosettes, made from a massive bronze stick of circular cross-section. Since relatively recently, the tourists have been able to admire a unique piece – jewellery from the Iron Age, owned by the persons of higher social status. A find consisting of bronze objects comes from the town of Svätá Mara and consists of 366 bronze roundels of various sizes (from 2 to 11 cm), four bronze wire rings, an ornamental metal component fragment of a wheel (originally thought to be a broken piece of a bronze vessel) and several shattered pieces.
The things to see in the feudalism exhibition include examples of medieval weapons and knight armour, the flag of the Liptov County from 1742, or the hat which allegedly belonged to legendary bandit Juraj Jánošík.
The guild-themed exposition shows historical objects preserved from the four main craft centres of Liptov – Ružomberok, Nemecká (today called Partizánska) Ľupča, Liptovský Mikuláš and Hybe. The museum is the administrator of a valuable and representative collection of guild-related objects from Liptov. In particular, the collection consists of guild chests, plates for summoning of guild members, glass guild bottles, ceramic vessels, tin jugs and sealing stamps. The largest group of objects in the guild collection comes from the privileged town of Nemecká Ľupča. The relationship between the guild organization and the spiritual life is demonstrated in the chandelier shades decorated with the symbols of local guilds of coopers, blacksmiths, locksmiths, furriers, dressmakers, and the craftsmen of Ľupča in general. The older collections of guild objects from Liptov include, for example, a chest by bootmakers from Nemecká Ľupča from 1687, or a tin jug from a local guild of shoemakers from 1649, as well as a smaller jug from the same craft organization. A rare artefact is the rod from the carpentry guild in Ružomberok.
In 1939, the museum opened an exhibition of Andrej Hlinka Room. The room is a display of numerous collected personal objects, documents, writings and photographs. The exhibit of the most value and interest is certainly the post-mortem plaster cast of the face and the hand from August 1938 – the work by academic sculptor Fraňo Štefunko and by Ružomberok’s artist and sculptor Viktor Mydlo.Other interesting objects include, for example, the external symbols of Hlinka’s status of a priest – a gold pectoral cross, a pope prelate ring and more. These objects also include the gifts from Hlinka’s admirers – Polish and Romanian honorary awards, artistic products by Polish craftsmen made from hard coal, a plate with a relief depiction of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, a handmade embroidered bulletin board by Izabela Embroidery Club from Cífer, and more. The public and political activities are documented in the form of personal documents, an extensive telegraphic correspondence, authentic photographs and many other objects.
In the exhibition of the paper production history in Slovakia, the largest unified collection is the one of transparencies. They allow us to determine the time of origin of the original historical documents on the handmade paper. The collection includes anchoring points of information regarding the economic and social circumstances of the individual paper mills in the given period. It includes apprentice books and workbooks, attendance sheets, rules and regulations for work, management reports, shares of enterprises, or milk vouchers for workers. We can also see the products of Ružomberok’s match factory or the watermarks of the old paper mill in Biely Potok.
Placed right by the entrance to the ethnography exhibition are extensive collections of sheep farming (wooden mugs “črpáky”, “geleta” milk containers, “putera” containers, “oštiepok” cheese moulds, belts, pouches, shepherd’s axe “valaška”, shepherd’s pipe “fujara”, “spiežovec” bells, a small model of a sheep farm, shepherds’ rings and pins). There is a separate cabinet with kitchen utensils and special racks for lace, embroidery, ceramics, painted glass, lace spindles and traditional Liptov folk costumes. Other artefacts include uniforms, particularly those of the Czechoslovak legions in Russia and Italy. There are also uniforms from the period of the 1st Czechoslovak Republic (particularly represented is the treasury guard), including uniformed associations (TJ Sokol). A separate numerous group of uniforms is the one of volunteer and professional fire-fighting units.
The exhibition of sacral art collects selected works of fine art preserved from the churches in Liptov. The works date from the beginning of the 16th century until the end of the 19th century. The main feature of the exhibition is certainly the altar of Coronation of Virgin Mary, which was brought to the museum from the church in Ludrová. In addition to the altar, the attention of visitors will also be drawn to two panels painted on both sides, also known as the so-called Panels from Liptovský Mikuláš. The first one portrays Saint Leonard and Saint Martin, the other one Saint Valentine and Saint Florian. There are several depictions, in particular of various saints – St. Matthew the Evangelist, St. Nicolas, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Stephan – the first Hungarian king, St. Emory, a statue of the shepherd, St. John the Baptist, St. Ján Nepomucký, and we must not forget the Holy Trinity either.
The museum also owns many collections which are not included in the exhibition halls. The individual exhibits are often placed in the corridors in the form of various paintings. The collection fund of the museum consists of almost 200,000 objects.
The museum was founded in 1912 by the Kurti brothers, Arthur and Julius. The original seat of the museum was the old clergyman’s house from the 15th century, at the premises of which there is now the Andrej Hlinka Mausoleum. The current museum building was built by the city of Ružomberok in the 1930s. The foundation stone was solemnly consecrated by a Roman Catholic priest and politician, Andrej Hlinka.
Apart from the exhibitions, the museum also organizes culturally and educationally oriented activities, such as lectures, talks, concerts, creative workshops and various other events. It is also the venue for different short-term exhibitions, such as regular photography exhibitions called “Fotoforum” or “Strom”.
The Liptov Museum is also the administrator of many other buildings in Liptov, such as: Likava Castle, Gothic Church of All Saints in Ludrová – Kút, Museum of Liptov Village in Pribylina, Ethnographic Museum in Liptovský Hrádok, “Čierny Orol” Museum in Liptovský Mikuláš, Archaeological Open-Air Museum in Havránok, and more.