“Teacher of Nations” exhibition opens in Prague

12-02-2009

A new exhibition on the legacy of Jan Ámos Komenský, usually known abroad as Comenius, opened in Prague on Wednesday. An accompanying event of the Czech presidency of the European Union, the exhibit seeks to look at the history, and presence, of Czech education, and its impact on Europe.

“From the simple to the complicated, from the familiar to the unfamiliar” are the fundamental thoughts of Jan Ámos Komenský, a 17th century Czech thinker who revolutionized education in the Czech lands and beyond. The Prague-based Pedagogical Museum of Jan Ámos Komenský opened a new permanent exhibition on Wednesday entitled The Legacy of Comenius: Traditions and Challenges of the Czech Culture and Education to Europe. Magdalena Šustová is a curator of the Pedagogical Museum.

“The exhibition presents the history of Czech education, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Visitors can see a number of old prints from the 16th and 17th centuries, many of which have been restored for this exhibition. They can also reminisce over various editions of Czech textbooks as well as instruction sheets, as well as a replica of a teacher’s office from the turn of the 20th century, with all kinds of desks, teaching aids and so on.”

The exhibition is divided into 12 areas, from the beginnings of Christian literacy in the Czech lands in the 9th century through the golden age of Czech medieval education and Humanism, to the present with each period presented in the European context. Ms Šustová says that the new permanent exhibition should also be attractive and offer more than just a traditional line-up of period items.

“We have an interactive information system on Comenius; we’ll be gradually adding more of these, and we hope that the exhibition will not only provide visitors with information but also warm their hearts, so to speak.”

Comenius is popularly known to most Czechs as the Teacher of the Nations, a reference to his role as an educator who strived to make the education of children the underlying principle for the welfare of the society. The author of more than 200 works, he is now best know as the author of Orbis Pictus, a children’s textbook considered to be the first world’s illustrated book for children. His other famed works included a language textbook, The Gate of Languages Unlocked, or Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart, virtually Comenius’ vision of the world.

You will find all details about the exhibition at the museum’s website at http://www.pmjak.cz/new/index.php.

12-02-2009