Interior of Prague’s National Museum is now on Google’s Street View

You can now see inside the National Museum without having to wait in line or struggle against crowds

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 12.02.2020 10:00:44 (updated on 12.02.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

The interior of the Historical Building of the National Museum in Prague is now on Street View in Google Maps, so people can see inside without having to wait in lines. And that is not the only recent news.

All together, the nine buildings of the National Museum had a record 1,125,637 visitors in 2019. The largest share was at the Historic Building, which attracted almost 800,000 visitors.

As of March 1, 2020, people under 15 years of age can visit the museum buildings for free. “The National Museum is not only a scientific and cultural institution, but also a very important educational institution. Therefore, the aim of the National Museum is to make our cultural heritage accessible to the largest possible number of people, especially the youngest,” Michal Lukeš, Director General of the National Museum, said in a press release.

“For this reason, the National Museum has decided to make its exhibitions and objects available free of charge to children and young people under 15. The National Museum will pay the increased costs of this project from profits from its commercial activities,” he added.

The Street View of the interior was added to celebrate the 15th anniversary of launching Google Maps. People can now browse through selected museum areas online. Numbers on the bottom right work like an elevator to take the view up and down levels.

The Historical Building of the National Museum has recently undergone a complete and costly renovation, and reopened in October 2018, after having been closed since 2011.

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Street View of the National Museum’s lowest level. via Google

However, not everybody has the opportunity to see the results in person. Now everyone with access to a computer can see the restored spaces, frescoes and paintings in the peace of their homes thanks to the Czech Google office.

Virtual visitors can enjoy, among other things, a walk under the well-preserved skeleton of the female finback whale, which was found on the Norwegian coast in 1885, and which became part of the permanent exhibition of the National Museum eight years later. A dinosaur fossil can also be found.

Street View also allows you to visit areas that have not yet been made available to the public. Some parts of the National Museum were shot at night so virtual visitors can see what this dominant feature of Wenceslas Square looks like after dusk.

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Street View image of an unused space in the National Museum. via Google

Street View is a popular Google Maps feature available in over 80 countries. Users can view 360-degree imagery of streets in different cities, as well as natural and cultural landmarks around the world. Within the Czech Republic, all Czech UNESCO World Heritage Sites, several castles and natural wonders, are also virtually accessible.

Among the most visited places on Street View in the Czech Republic are the gardens of Prague Castle, the historic town of Český Krumlov and the center of Prague. In the Czech Republic, Street View has been available since 2007 and is regularly updated.

In November 2019, the Historical Building and the New Building were permanently linked into one museum complex by an underground corridor with a permanent exhibition called Moments of History. As a result, a new barrier-free entrance to both buildings was created in the New Building for visitors with special needs or families with small children and baby carriages.

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Dinosaur fossil in the National Museum. via Google

Since last year it has been possible to visit nine museum buildings with one ticket within five days. In addition to the Historical and New Buildings complex, people can also visit the Czech Museum of Music, the National Memorial at Vítkov, the Ethnographic Museum, the Antonín Dvořák Museum, the Bedřich Smetana Museum, the National Museum Lapidarium and the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American cultures.

The National Museum regularly allows visitors free entry to all its buildings seven times a year. This year those dates are May18, June 1, June 13 (as part of Museum Night), September 12, September 28, October 28, and November 17.

While the National Museum as an institution is over 200 years old, the current Historical Building dates to 1891.

The National Museum was built according to plans by architect Josef Schulz between 1885–91 as the dominant feature of Wenceslas Square. It has been a national cultural monument since 1962.

Before 2018, the building had not been significantly repaired for more than 120 years and was damaged by military attacks in 1945 and 1968. It was also was also weakened by the constant vibrations from the adjacent highway and by the construction of metro tunnels.

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