Do you like cities with beautiful architecture, plenty of museums and beer? Well you would like Prague. For me a trip away doesn’t necessarily mean a long relax, instead it tends to be a mad dash to see as much as a city has to offer as possible. This usually includes at least a handful of museums. I crammed a lot into three days and this is my list, in no particular order, of the highlights.
Paper archives are notoriously difficult to display without resorting to a lot of frames flat on a wall. This museum does everything but. From quirky cases, to soundscapes, projections and dramatic lighting, the collection is used really effectively to inform about the life and work of Franz Kafka. There’s more about my visit here.
If you like Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam films, this museum is dedicated to a man who inspired their work. I’m ashamed to say that before this museum visit I had never heard of him, but after half an hour in this wonderful interactive little museum I had not only ridden a flying machine, but had learnt about a Karel Zeman the Czech film legend. Find out more here.
It’s tiny, not really a shock there, but it’s pretty mind boggling. Ever wanted to see camels walking through an eye of a needle, or ships sailing on the antennae of a bug? Well I didn’t realise these spectacles were missing from my life until I saw them! See some for yourself here.
This museum was utterly bizarre. Housed in the Church of our Lady Victorious is the shrine to the Infant Baby Jesus AND the museum of his wondrous range of outfits. Originating from Spain and donated in 1628 this statue of baby Jesus has 2 crowns and 46 dresses and gets an outfit change about 10 times a year. He’s truly better dressed than I will ever be. Have a look here for more details.
Clue is in the name, there are lots of toys. It has very much a ‘stuff in cases’ approach to a museum, there are no interactives BUT there is a floor dedicated to Barbie . . . have a look here.
There are 2 ‘Beer Museums’ . . . but only one of them actually has a museum how bothered you are about this probably relates to your beer/museum liking ratio. The one with the museum is not just a museum . . . there is beer provided in two themed underground bars. See more here.
Well . . . it’s an education. With multilingual text panels and handy illustrations. It’s eye opening, informative and just a little bit cheeky. Want to see more, have a look here.
Ok so it’s about an hour on the train away from Prague, but for me it was a highlight. 40,000 skeletons arranged as a memento mori in a small chapel, yes it’s macabre but it is also incredible. See some more of Sedlec ossuary here.
So what did I notice that was different about museums in Prague to here in the UK? Well you tend to have to pay to get in to them, admittedly it’s usually just a couple of pounds. From what I have seen they are worth paying for; the displays were well kept and interesting, I didn’t see a single broken interactive (a contrast to many museums in the UK). The most expensive to visit was the Beer Museum, but the price included 4 beers. Like in the UK, student cards can get you discounted entry. The museums I visited were not large, I didn’t see any bag storage and unlike in Berlin museums you were not required to put belongings into locker rooms. Having had a search online, in 2017/2018 the National Museum is due to reopen after a major renovation project. Housed in an incredible neo-renaissance building which dominated Wenceslas Square, it’s an impressive building and I would love to see what they do to the inside. In what has been dubbed the largest moving of museum collections in Czech history some seven million items have been put into alternative repositories during this renovation. There’s also a toilet museum that I missed this time round, oh and the Alchemy Museum and the KGB Museum . . . basically this is the tip of the iceberg.
If you want to see more of Prague, check out Ryan Gray’s incredible photography here.