Czech National Museum celebrates landmark anniversaries

The museum was established 205 years ago and historian František Palacký was born 225 years ago. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 14.06.2023 10:20:00 (updated on 14.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

A ceremonial gathering at the historical building of the National Museum in Prague tonight will commemorate the 205th anniversary of its foundation. Participants will remember 225 years since the birth of the politician and historian František Palacký, an important figure in the Czech National Revival of the 19th century.

President Petr Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and Culture Minister Martin Baxa will make speeches at the event, and National Museum director Michal Lukeš will use the opportunity to award medals.

The ceremonial events are not open to the public. The museum complex, which includes both the new and historical buildings at the bottom of Wenceslas Square, will be closed today from 2 p.m. A public celebration that included free admission was held in April.

Prague's National Museum was founded on April 15, 1818, as the Patriotic Museum of Bohemia. Count Kaspar Maria von Sternberg, who was also a famous paleontologist, donated his large collections of fossils, minerals, and plants. Other Czech nobles also donated libraries of manuscripts and zoological specimens. The museum was originally located at Sternberg Palace near Prague Castle and focused on natural sciences owing to Sternberg's scientific background.

The museum relocated first to the Nostitz Palace and later to what we know now as the historic National Museum building atop Wenceslas Square in May 1891. The historical building underwent a multi-year renovation on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the museum's foundation, reopening in 2018 with modernized space and exhibits.

Bust of František Palacký. Photo: Raymond Johnston
Bust of František Palacký in Prague. Photo: Raymond Johnston

The museum is not limited to the Wenceslas Square buildings. Other locations include the National Monument At Vítkov, the Czech Music Museum, Bedřich Smetana Museum, Antonín Dvořák Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Memorial to František Palacký and František Ladislav Rieger, the Vrchotovy Janovice Chateau south of Prague, and the Museum Of Czech Puppets And Circus in Prachatice.

Palacký, who was born June 17, 1798, is best known now as a historian who compiled books about Czech heritage. He also participated in the Revolution of 1848 and advocated for a stronger position for Slavic people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Palacký is considered as one of the Czech nation’s three fathers, along with Emperor Charles IV and Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. His likeness can be found on the CZK 1,000 banknote.

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