When renovating its classrooms in 2017, the First Secondary School Maribor donated to the Slovenian Museum of Natural History a sizeable  and fairly well preserved natural history collection with zoological, geological and botanical items from the 19th and 20th centuries. The collection was created with a series of purchases and gifts given to the natural science department as an aid in natural history lessons at the former classical high school and secondary modern school in Maribor.

The botanical part of the collection embraces 11 herbariums in portfolios and bound books, a collection of seeds and fruits, 12 mushroom models made by the Arnoldi Company, flax products and printed volumes of the Alpine flora with colour illustrations. Most herbarium sheets carry only Latin names of the species; some have German names written on the labels, although  the place, date and recipient are exceptionally stated as well. The basic purpose of the herbarium, however, was teaching botanical systematics and identifying useful plants. The oldest herbarium – its author remains unknown – was collected around 1834 and was listed in the high school inventory book as the Herbarium according to Linnaeus. It holds 190 specimens of plants, among which are some special species, e.g. Zois’s Bellflower, Stemless Gentian, Alpine Bell Cortusa Matthioli and Alpine Sea Holly, although with no data on localities and authors.

The herbariums with poisonous, technological and dye plants, totalling more than 200 species, were edited in the form of books in 1857 by the secondary school teacher Carl Roman Rieck.  Well preserved are herbariums with algae, ferns and woody species, although furnished with Latin species names only. The herbarium of leafy mosses, which is perfectly preserved and labelled, was collected by Julij Głowacki, the secondary school teacher and headmaster of the classical school, at the end of the 19th century somewhere in the former Styria. The herbarium collected by Robert Wiest in the years 1938-1943 is perfectly labelled as well. He collected some plants in the vicinity of Maribor. 

Written and photographed by: Valerija Babij

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