National Museum’s famous whale returns

The museum also has a nightly light show outside and a new ticket policy

The National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square has changes concerning both its interior and exterior. In addition, the entry ticket is now valid for basic entry to nine National Museum buildings for five days.

Inside the Historical Building of the National Museum, the route has been expanded and people can again see the skeleton of a fin whale, one of the museum’s prize holdings.

Visitors will be able to glimpse into the hall with the whale skeleton as it undergoes conservation.

It is one of the largest exhibits of a cetacean in Europe and is one of the few objects that was not moved out of the museum during its recent renovation.

In 1887, the curators of the newly established museum building had the opportunity to buy the skeleton of an unusually large female whale that had died on the coast of Norway in 1885.

A whaling company offered the exceptionally large skeleton to various traders in natural history specimens across Europe. The National Museum (then the Museum of the Kingdom of Bohemia) organized a “patriotic collection” to raise 2,500 guldens, as the price exceeded the museum’s own funds.

It was first exhibited in November 1888 in what is now the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures. In 1892 it was moved to the recently completed Historical Building of the National Museum.

In the 1950s the installation method was changed, and it has been suspended from above since then.

Outside the museum, there is now a nightly colored light show at the three-level semicircular fountain. The show will run until the end of October. The free show lasts three minutes. It starts at 9 pm and repeats every half hour. The show culminates in the Czech flag’s colors of red, white and blue.

As part of the renovation, 37 lights were installed in the fountain, allowing up to 20,000 different color combinations to be created in basic mode.

The last piece of news is that the ticket for the Historical Building of the National Museum, which for adults costs Kč 260, and with a senior or student discount costs Kč 170, is now also valid for five days an eight other venues of the National Museum: the New Building; the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures; the Czech Museum of Music; the Ethnographic Museum; National Memorial on Vítkov Hill; the Lapidarium; the Antonín Dvořák Museum; and the Bedřich Smetana Museum.

The five-day ticket can be purchased at all the venues where it is valid. For the other venues aside from the Historical Building, one-day single entry tickets are also available for less, but these do not allow entry to other buildings. For the Historical Building, the none-venues five-day ticket is the only option.

The Historical Building of the National Museum reopened to the public Oct. 28, 2018, for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The building had been closed for renovations since 2011, but the renovation work did not start until 2015 due to legal issues.

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.

Elevators for the public were also installed.

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

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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