Hüttenberg is a former mining town in Carinthia which has suffered since 1978 from the closure of mines and associated industries. The Carinthian Land Exhibition in 1995 attempted to revitalise the area by displaying its mining heritage and creating an open air museum to display the history of iron smelting in the area.
The principal feature of the show mine is the 900 m long Erbstollen adit excavation of which began in 1547. It was once the second largest iron ore mine in Austria. Visitors can see displays of tools and equipment from more than two millennia of mining history. The drainage and ventilation system of the mines are explained, and there is a feature on St Barbara, the patron saint of miners. In the mineral display (Mineralenschau) visitors can see 200 minerals from the mine, malachite, calcite, amethyst, chalcedon and Löllingit, the latter named after a local village. The mine’s waste tip is open to collectors of minerals.
The Heft open air museum (Freilichtmuseum Heft, A-9375 Hüttenberg-Heft, Tel. +43 (0) 4263 8108) is centred on two nineteenth century blast furnaces closed in 1901 and 1908 which are conserved within a steel and glass structure completed in 1995 to the design of Günther Domenig.