As a result of the Munich Agreement of September 1938, Czechoslovakia ended up losing 30% of its territory, a third of its population and the greater part of its industry and raw materials. Few people had much faith in the country’s long-term survival as a democracy amid dictatorships. It was, as Jan Masaryk put it, an “experiment in vivisection”. The radio archives give a vivid picture of the consequences of that experiment, which was to last less than six months and end in occupation and eventually war.
Few people in the Czech Republic know that a significant chapter in the history of early Czech sound recordings was written by Czech immigrants in the United States. For several years now, Filip Šír from the National Museum in Prague has been searching for the lost recordings and the stories of the people behind them. Last year, he published his findings in a book called Bohemia on Records, written together with music collector Gabriel Goessel. But he says there is still much more waiting to be discovered.
Pavel Mikeš, the Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia, studied African History and Linguistics at Charles University in the 1980s. Despite not being allowed to travel to the continent under communism, he managed to learn fluent Swahili and Amharic, the dominant Ethiopian language, along with English and French. After a long career in academia, he joined the Czech Foreign Ministry in 1999, and has since served as head of mission or ambassador in several other African countries. Along the way, he has written books on the history and geography of Ethiopia,
A new exhibition, marking the start of the school year, got underway at the National Museum in Prague on Monday. It is dedicated to the 17th century Czech philosopher and thinker Jan Ámos Komenský or Comenius, known as ‘The Teacher of Nations’, and focuses on his most famous work for children, called Orbis Pictus.
Barrel organ players and street artists from the Czech Republic and beyond gathered in Prague earlier this month for the annual festival Flašinet žije! (The barrel organ is alive!), organised by the National Museum. I went along to talk to some of the organ grinders to learn more about the history of the mechanical instrument and their passion for it.
The Czech National Bank re-issued 30,000 sets of six 20-crown coins on
Wednesday to mark the centenary of monetary separation from the former
The six coins featuring famous First Republic politicians such as Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Edvard Beneš, as well as the first central bank governors, were first issued in 2018.
At that time, collectors could exchange them for coins of the same value. Now the cost for six coins has been set at CZK 590. Another 20,000 sets of the coins are due to go on sale this autumn.
The National Museum in Prague is currently running a special Exhibition called “Knights of the Heaven”. As the name betrays, it is focused on the Czechoslovak pilots who fought in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Located in the newly renovated historical building of the museum, it features a massive array of personal items and uniforms of the fighting men, who dedicated their lives to their country, only to be hunted by the communist regime later on.
The National Museum in Prague has been granted a unique license to carry out archaeological research in Syria. Under the agreement, signed by the museum’s director Michal Lukeš and his Syrian counterpart in Damascus, a team of Czech and Syrian archaeologists will be exploring a location in the coastal province of Latakia, the former site of the ancient port city of Ugarit.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Czech National Museum has rejected a gift of exceptional Chinese pottery worth some five million crowns. The museum also declined to send a representative at the weekend to an exhibition showcasing the pottery. While the museum rejected the gift on procedural grounds, the incident underscores concerns about opaque Chinese business practices and the communist country’s exercise of “soft power”.