Curators at the National Museum say it took eight years to prepare what is the largest modern history exhibition ever held in Czech territory.
Visitors first enter a room with a single giant 360-degree screen. The director of the National Museum Michal Lukeš told Czech television that a wide range of sounds and the earthquake itself accompany a video summary of Czech history from 1914 until the entry of the Czech Republic into the EU in 2004.
“This room takes us through the key moments of the 20th century in 7 minutes. It’s kind of a great introduction to the exhibition itself.
After the video presentation is over, visitors enter the trenches of World War I, the metaphorical end of the 19th century, and the conflict that led to the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918.
A thousand objects are on display as the exhibition progressively retraces the various political, military and societal developments that have taken place on Czech territory. Visitors are presented with iconic machines, works of art, uniforms, chariots, dresses and even the medals worn by Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the day of his assassination in Sarajevo. For those who prefer to get a feel for what ordinary life would have been like in the past, there are also authentic recreations of contemporary kitchens and living spaces.
According to Michal Lukeš, choosing the content of the exhibition was one of the most difficult tasks for curators.
“It was very complicated. The twentieth century was, of course, complicated in itself, but we also have so many artifacts from that era in our possession that we would need 10 times the space to display them all. Nevertheless, we have tried to make the most of the space available to us. “
The central theme of the exhibition is the exploration of an individual’s personal freedom and how it has been limited or extended during the various regime changes and economic changes of the 20th century.
Walking through the corridors of the building that once housed the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly, visitors will also discover several more targeted segments. For example, the suitcase motif links both the Holocaust transports to the forced emigrations of the postwar period and the communist era.
Children will also have the chance to visit a special historic playroom, which invites them to try out several games and see how they have changed during the 20th century.
Those who prefer to look deeper into history can visit the Sun Kings on Ancient Egypt exhibit in the neighboring ancient building of the National Museum, which was extended until the end of September.