Best of: Prague’s Overlooked Museums

Travel Tips — By Jacy Meyer on September 27, 2010 at 4:08 am

No will dispute the fact that Prague’s a pretty cultural place. With its musical heritage alone, culture vultures are in heaven. Museums too aren’t difficult to find, with Dox, Center for Contemporary Art, the Mucha Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts being a few of the most popular. But there are many unsung museum heroes out there just waiting to be explored. Some of these might be a bit niche, but all three are worth a visit.

National Memorial to the Victims of the Heydrich Terror

World War II buffs will find this extremely in depth display riveting. The story of the recruitment, training and mission of the Czech resistance fighters is told in photos, newspaper clippings and video clips. In December 1941, seven Czech parachutists secretly landed in their occupied homeland, after being trained and sent from Britain, where a government in exile was operating. In May 1942, they carried out the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, who was the acting Reichprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. The subsequent search for the killers, the treachery of one Czech solider and the resulting crackdown on the nation is all movingly displayed. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit the church’s crypt in which the remaining six soldiers hid out, until the final three committed suicide (the other three were killed defending the church) after the building was surrounded by Nazis who tried to first smoke, then flood them out.

Museum Kampa

This museum specializing in modern central European art is located in a beautifully restored old mill on the lovely Kampa Island. There are two permanent exhibitions; one of abstract works by František Kupka and the second, cubist bronze casts by Otto Gutfreund, a leading Czech sculptor from the 1920s. There’s a nice café here, and Kampa Island is certainly worth a wander. Rotating exhibitions feature a range of modern works, normally from the 1960s-1980s, from Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech artists.

The Charles Bridge Museum

The displays on 14th and 15th century bridge building may be a little much for some people, but the museum is running a couple temporary exhibitions in conjunction with the ongoing reconstruction of Charles Bridge. The project documents the history of repairs, working methods and surprising new findings, in addition to other results acquired during the reconstruction of this important monument. There’s a “touching allowed” portion with stone building symbols taken from the bridge, a comparison photo exhibit documenting the before and after look of individual stages of the repairs and a “Repair Info Center” which offers updates about the reconstruction, information on new discoveries and more.

Photos courtesy of Museum Kampa

Tags: Art, history, museum