National Museum finally reopens

The cultural monument has been closed since 2011

The Historical Building of the National Museum reopened to the public Oct. 28. Admission is free until the end of the year, and the building will be open daily.

The building is currently limited to 300 people at a time, and the last person is let in an hour before closing time. Reservations are not needed.

The building has been extensively remodeled inside, in addition to a complete cleaning and restoration of its facade. The building has been closed since 2011, but the renovation work did not start until 2015.

Only part of the interior is finished, and people will be able to see two exhibitions related to the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia and the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the museum. These are Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech and 2 × 100.

The Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech includes the originals of significant documents such as the Pittsburgh Agreement, Munich Pact and Hácha-Hitler Protocol. It has over 2,000 exhibits covering 15 topics from politics to culture.

The exhibition 2 × 100 has 200 significant items from 20 million pieces in the National Museum collection. Some have never been displayed before, and others have been recently restored.

In addition to the exhibitions, a cafe is open in one of the courtyards and there is a bookstore.

When finished, the building will have about 30 percent more exhibition space than previously as it will no longer have offices, administrative areas or depositories.

Work on the interior will continue into 2019, with more spaces opening starting in February.

Permanent expositions will open to visitors in autumn 2019. During the year, other halls will open for temporary exhibitions such as one on Great Czech Composers. The cost of the renovation is Kč 1,795,334,935 including VAT.

“The renovation of the Historical Building is one of the largest and most complex renovations in the history of the Czech Republic, both in terms of its size and scope of work. I am very glad that we managed to fulfill the promise in a record time of 42 months and to put the building into a test run on the occasion of celebrations 100 years since founding Czechoslovakia and 200 years since the founding of the National Museum. The work will not end, next year we will put the building into proper operation and we will open permanent exhibitions, including natural sciences with a famous whale,” National Museum director Michal Lukeš said.

Previously the building did not have public elevators, but now it will be more accessible for people with disabilities.

Some 495 large-sized windows and 233 doors were restored, 1,300 km of new cables were installed, six elevators for people and six freight elevators were built. The building was equipped with modern technological systems, the two courtyards were roofed, and the Historic Building was connected by an underground corridor to the adjacent New Building of the National Museum.

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

The building has been a national cultural monument since 1962 and emphasis was placed on restoring it to its original appearance. This concerns not only the lighter shade of the facade but also the restoration of the original painted ceiling glass above the main staircase, Pantheon details, and the return of flags to the museum fountain.

The restoration work was carried out under close supervision of experts from the National Monument Institute (NPÚ).

The National Museum was built according to plans by architect Josef Schulz between 1885–91 as the dominant of Wenceslas Square.

The building has 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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