|About the museum:
Labin Museum was founded as a regional museum in 1960. It is located in the centre of the town, in a Baroque palace called Battiala-Lazzarini (17th and 18th centuries).
The lapidarium located in the atrium of the museum mainly features Roman monuments from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD that portray the ancient history of Labin (Albona). Most of the collection items are funerary and votive in nature. The most prominent among them is the oldest inscription of the name of the city of Labin: Res publica Albonessium (about 245 AD).
The current museum exhibition was opened in 2008. It offers an overview of the history of Labin through a selection of important events shown in cronological order, thematic units and interactive displays. Exhibited artifacts are accompanied by labels in four languages (Croatian, English, Italian and German).
The chronological overview recounts various Labin administrations, the town’s Statute from 1341, Venetian government, armed conflicts with the Uskoks in 1599, religion (highlighting Matthias Flacius Illyricus and Protestantism), the Napoleonic era, Austrian government, and mining.
The chronological overview is accompanied by an info-booth with photographs and information about the history of the city.
The next topic displayed is the Labin Republic of 1921 (republic established by miners in Labin as a protest against the fascist violence), followed by its counterpoint, the Labin Art Republic, a modern art manifestation that takes place in Labin annually. The recent history overview begins with the Second World War and the partisan movement (weapons and flags), continues through to Yugoslav-era Labin and concludes at the present.
The ethnographic exhibition begins with an overview of the traditional economy of Labin and its surrounding area: animal husbandry, agriculture and fishing. Agricultural tools, husbandry items, handicrafts made of wood, and fishing tools are displayed. The typical male and female costumes of Labin can be seen, as well as folk art and handicrafts, with a particular emphasis on pottery.
A particular section is dedicated to Istrian music; musical instruments are exhibited, while an automatic device plays the sounds of instruments and Istrian singing.
The second floor of the museum houses the furniture of a typical bourgeois room from the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century as well as 18th century Rococo furniture. A particular section is dedicated to Giuseppina Martinuzzi, an Istrian teacher and a revolutionary who stood up for the rights of workers, especially women and children. Giuseppina Martinuzzi’s bust and furniture from her Labin apartment are exhibited, along with her works: elementary school textbooks, Mnemonic Manual, and notebooks.
The last segment of the exhibition begins with an overview of country life and how water was supplied to the town. Household items and wool processing tools are also exhibited.
Dialects of the Labin region (Chakavian, Venetian-Trieste, and Istrian-Romanian) are presented as audio recordings.
Aside from the Lazzarini palace that museum is housed in, the architecture of Labin is presented on boards with pictures of Renaissance and Baroque palaces that have undergone reconstructions over the centuries. Visitors can also view the old town clock from the tower of Labin and an image of Podlabin from 1942, when the new mining area of the town was built.
The permanent exhibition related to the four hundred year history of mining in Labin is particularly attractive. It was set in the basement and the ground floor of the museum from 1961 to 1964, with the direct support of the mining company Istarski ugljenokopi Raša. The deep-mine environment is reproduced as authentically as possible; it displays items once used in the mine and a reconstruction of some 150 m of mine shaft. The exhibition includes all the traits of a typical mine: tracks, small mining wagons, different types of supports, work areas or “rooms” with examples of excavation in progress, conveyor belts, tools, different devices, and other equipment.
Collection of Sacral Art
The museum manages the Collection of Sacral Art housed in the Church of St. Mary of Consolation (built on the slope leading towards the old town’s square).
The Church of the Brotherhood of St. Mary of Consolation (popularly called St. Mary of Health, but officially known as the Church of the Assumption) was built in 1426, broadened and enlarged in 1537, and extended with the doorway portico in 1622.
A series of nine large oil paintings, all dedicated to the Madonna, were probably painted in the first two decades of the 17th century. The works have been attributed to Antonio Moreschi, a painter whose works are imbued with the spirit of the Venetian painting tradition. The church houses a series of wooden polychrome statues representing the apostles. The statues once stood on a partition which divided the church in two sections. There is also a Baroque marble altar with the statue of the Madonna and Child dated to 1697.
Among the tombs located in the church, the common grave of the members of the Brotherhood of St. Mary is of particular interest.