Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (Uměleckoprůmyslové museum v Praze)
With a collection ranging from antique wedding dresses to vintage advertisements, this Old Town collection celebrates style over the last five centuries
The UPM was founded in 1885 by the city's chamber of commerce. Initially housed in the nearby Rudolfinum, the collection was moved to its current location, designed by architect Josef Schulz, in 1900.
Since 2000, the museum has been home to a permanent exhibition called Stories of Materials, plus frequent temporary exhibitions.
Upon entering the museum, the first hall you encounter is dedicated to short-term exhibitions.
Currently, you can see Je suis dada: Flemish Design Between Dream and Reality, an exhibition of the work of Flemish artists, such as Hugo Meert or Roos Van de Velde, who incorporate surrealist ideas into everyday objects.
Upstairs, the permanent exhibition begins in the "Founder's Hall".
Decorated in the style of ancient Rome, the room houses the museum's outstanding bequests and donations, such as Václav Jílek's glass collection, alongside bronze busts of the four men who did most to establish the museum: Schulz, Vojtěch Lanna, Bohumil Bondy and Václav Němec.
Next, you enter a hall dedicated to the museum's glass and ceramics collection.
You begin with ceramic pieces from the 16th to 19th centuries, move on to porcelain from the 18th and 19th centuries and end with a collection of 20th-century glass and ceramics.
From there, you head into the "Treasury Hall," where you can see pieces made in metal and other materials.
This is probably the museum's most diverse collection, containing jewelry, ceremonial candlesticks and a range of items dating back to the Mannerist period, around the turn of the 17th century, when Prague was home to Emperor Rudolf II.
The following hall is dedicated to graphic design and photography.
In this section, you'll find books and prints from the early years of the printing press through to the 18th century.
There's also a collection of photographs and advertisements from between 1839 and 1900 and a collection of books and graphic art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The next section is dedicated to textiles and fashion.
A collection of wedding dresses from the 14th to the 19th century make this one of the most interesting parts of the exhibition.
In addition, there's a collection of miniature dresses for porcelain dolls and one of liturgical vestments.
Finally, the section titled "Time Machines" features clocks and watches of many different types, from the 15th to the 20th century.
The collection is focused on artistic and decorative timepieces rather than on unique mechanisms, but there are also some pieces that are interesting from a technical point of view.
In short, the Museum of Decorative Arts gives us an idea of how high society lived between the 15th and 20th centuries and, as an added advantage, all the information is presented in English.
Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
(Uměleckoprůmyslové museum v Praze)
17. listopadu 2
Prague 1-Staré Město (Old Town)
Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions With Audio Guide: 130 CZK (Concessions: 80 CZK)
Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions (No Audio Guide): 120 CZK (Concessions: 70 CZK) Temporary Exhibition: 80 CZK (Concessions: 40 CZK)
Family Ticket: 200 CZK
Free Entry: Tuesdays From 5pm to 7pm
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