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Department of Historical Collections

The department employees take conceptual and universal care of collection objects, focus on their acquisition, registering, and cataloguing, and also pay attention to their proper storage and continuous inventorying. Furthermore, they make the collections available for public exhibitions, publications, lectures, and thematic programmes.

The curators present the findings of their research at expert workshops and conferences both at home and abroad. The curators' specialised studies are published in the Prague City Museum's periodical almanac Historica Pragensia and in other specialised publications.

Department of Historical Collections – Activities

 

Historica Pragensia

Historica Pragensia

The historical almanac Historica Pragensia has been published since 2003, replacing the museum periodicals Acta Musei Pragensis and Res Musei Pragensis. It publishes articles and studies on the Prague City Museum's historical collections as well as notable events in the metropolis.

Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions

Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions

We prepare thematic exhibitions about the history of Prague and the life of its inhabitants in the near and distant past, including the very popular exhibition cycle about the quarters of Prague. We are currently working on new permanent exhibitions on the history of Prague in early modern times, the 19th and 20th centuries, and on a new exhibition of the Langweil Model of Prague.

On-line Activities

On-line Activities

Our collection objects are also presented in interesting contexts online – several cycles of gripping online exhibitions and podcasts about our work are currently being prepared.

Historical Collections

 

The history repositories include a large number of collection objects documenting the history of the City of Prague from the Middle Ages to the present. The plentiful collection includes objects concerning arts and crafts where the applied arts collection is especially valuable – the products of the Prague blacksmiths, locksmiths, gunsmiths, tinsmiths, goldsmiths, and clock makers.

The Collection of Guild Objects is one of the largest in Central Europe. It provides evidence of the art and skills of guild masters and journeymen in the boroughs of Prague from the 15th century to 1859 when the first guild was replaced by modern associations and trades.

The Prague earthenware manufacture products from the late 18th and early 19th century are the greatest representatives of the rich Collection of Glass, Porcelain and Earthenware; the collection also includes porcelain products of a Prague – Smíchov factory. The products modelled by the sculptor Arnošt Popp in the 1850s are the figural porcelain masterpieces.

The Collection of Textiles, Clothes, Uniforms and Accessories provides evidence of the development of fashion in 19th century Prague. The collection of textiles from the grave of the famous astronomer at the court of Rudolf II, Tycho Brahe (†1601), is a unique part of this collection.

The collection of vedute, i.e. views of Prague, its squares, streets, and significant buildings, documenting the transformation of the city and its vicinity, is typical of the Collection of Drawings and Prints. It includes all of the originals of the earliest vedute of Prague as well as engravings by Aegidius Sadeler, Václav Hollar, Folpert van Ouden-Allen, Friedrich Bernard Werner, Jan Jiří Balzer, the Heger brothers, Vincenc Morstadt, and many others.

The Painting Collection consists of a number of prime-quality works; however, artefacts appreciated for their documentation value prevail. Sacral art includes works from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, as a rule coming from churches and monasteries in Prague. There is a large group of paintings portraying Prague and its vicinity at different periods and also portraits of Prague inhabitants and prominent figures primarily from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Sculpture Collection is a varied collection of the Prague provenance artworks – from Gothic and Baroque statues originally placed in churches and monasteries, over Prague house signs that previously decorated the historic centre house facades, to designs of many monuments and public sculptures of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Collection of Coins, Medals and Plaques illustrates the history of Prague from the 16th century to the present. Most of the medals reflect significant historic events or appreciation of prominent figures that lived in Prague and were instrumental in its development. The Numismatic Collection is comprised of coins from early medieval denariuses to the present-day Czech coins. The collection of coins produced by the Prague Mint constitutes an important part of the collection.

The Collection of Prints is the largest of all the historical collections. It comprises books, leaflets, public notices, posters, commercial flyers, holy cards, and other objects, such as the Collection of Postcards. Political and satirical leaflets from the period of the Bohemian Revolt, the Thirty Years’ War, and the 1848–1849 revolution period are the most valuable artefacts. The Collection of Maps and Plans is essential for the understanding of the city’s transformation.

Modern prints – of the 20th century – are primarily represented by a varied promotional production. The museum enshrines representative collections of film and theatre posters as well as the political ones.

The transformation of the city and its life after the second half of the 19th century is best seen in rich collections of photographs and negatives. Among the most renowned photographers were František Fridrich, Jindřich Eckert, Rudolf Bruner-Dvořák, and Jan Kříženecký; later also Josef Ehm, Zdenko Feyfar, Svatopluk Sova, and Bohumil Střemcha. Hand-coloured slides from the early 20th century are high-valued relics of technology.

The Department of Historical Collections assembles everyday objects that document the history of Prague and the life of its inhabitants during the 20th century. There are also interesting collections of objects from the two world wars, advertising objects, and also the Collection of Badges, Orders, and Decorations.

For more details about the Historical Collections see Z. Míka: Muzeum hlavního města Prahy: Průvodce. Praha 2001.