Jože Matekovič is a man with a big heart who is committed to preserving architecture, cultural heritage, and the customs of Bela krajina and the Radovica village, where he lives and works. He restores furniture and collects old books, notes, embroideries, and everything else that he finds worthy of being preserved for future generations as a way of showing the youth how people used to live and the objects they used in their everyday lives.
In 2013, Jože Matekovič bought a 250-year-old wooden house in a nearby village and relocated the entire building to Radovica with the help of his brother Martin. For several years, the building has housed the so-called Bistra buča (which roughly translates to Smart Cookie) school. It is a place where visitors can experience school as it once was. In the old building where he has set up an old classroom, Matekovič holds up a cane and plays the role of an early-20th century teacher in a funny, entertaining, and insightful way.
In 1886, when the region was struck by grape phylloxera that destroyed all vineyards in a matter of years, the inhabitants of Bela krajina started emigrating across the pond. “Most of them left for the USA, Canada, and Brazil. After the war, in the third wave of emigration, they mostly emigrated to Argentina and Australia. These are the stories of their journeys over the sea – many of them were successful, but some also ended in tragic and fatal accidents,” Matekovič recounts.
He also touches upon the design of the museum, “The museum is two stories high. The upper level will feature exhibits which our ancestors have brought back from abroad and which have been preserved to date. It is mostly traveling suitcases, old paintings, letters, and various work permits. The ground floor boasts a large hall where a chronological exhibition will be displayed. This will also be the venue for various gatherings and events. We have already done most of the work ourselves, but we kindly ask all emigrants from Bela krajina to help us fill the exhibition hall with exhibits.
If you would like to take part in the project, please contact Jože Matekovič at:
Address: Jože Matekovič, Radovica 32, 8330 Metlika, Slovenia.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: +386 40 147 798