Prague can be called the city of museums and art galleries, as they form an important part of the city’s culture. These museums cover all kinds of themes, from history, culture , art, religion, science, politics to narrower topics such as toys, cuisine, magic, and famous people. Here are some of the best museums in Prague.
National Gallery in Prague
The National Gallery in Prague is an important part of the cultural landscape of the city. For a city known worldwide for its beauty, it is but natural that there be a vast venue dedicated to art. The origins of the national gallery go back two centuries, when a few citizens with artistic tastes and patriotic fervor decided to introduce the best works of art to the public. They banded together and established an art exhibit, which served the country for the next 100 years. The exhibit grew with donations from the art collection of the emperor Franz Joseph I.
By 1918, the place had become an important center for dissemination of knowledge about artistic heritage of the country and Europe. The two world wars had a negative impact on the activities of the gallery. In 1949, the National Gallery was formally established.
Today, visitors can enjoy different exhibits spread across different venues, most of which happen to be monuments of historic importance, and works of art in their own right. You can for example, learn more about the history of European art up to the Baroque period at the Sternbersky Palace, 19 th century Art at the Salmovsky Palace. There is even an exhibit for Asian art at the Kinskych Palace. There are also temporary exhibits that celebrate medival and modern art forms.
The City of Prague Museum
The museum was established in 1900 with the aim of educating people on the history of the city and the region. Housed across many historical locations such as the late 19th century structure that once housed the Royal City of Prague Museum, the picturesque Podskali Custom House and the historic city towers, including the Old Town Bridge and the Powder Tower, the City of Prague Museum can take days to explore. On the other hand, this means you will never be bored, because the rich exhibits hold plenty of interesting artifacts.
You will be introduced to the earliest history of Prague, down through the Middle Ages and modern times. There are more hundreds of thousands of exhibits in the Archaeology section, which makes this a treasure trove of information for students, researchers, and anybody with an interest in history and archaeology. You can get a glimpse of early 20th century architectural fashions if you visit the Muller Villa, designed by the noted Adolf Loos. There is an exhibit devoted to trades and crafts in the Middle Ages up until the modern times. You can see the implements used by wine producers, farmers, carpenters, metal workers, and those who made household appliances and equipment. The modern trades represented here include IT.
The Jewish Museum is more than a century old and is one of the first museums of its kind in Europe. It was set up with the intention of housing articles from synagogues that were demolished. During the German occupation of the city, the museum was able to retain its functioning through some difficult times. It also became a storehouse for works of art and important artifacts from other parts of Europe. After the country’s liberation from German occupation, the museum briefly returned to regular functioning before political changes forced it to tone down its work. In the mid 1990s, the museum was able to return to independent functioning. Today, it is a place of significant importance for scholars, researchers, and others looking to learn about the Jewish community in the country. The exhibits are located across different venues, such as synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Ceremonial Hall. The exhibits depict the history of the Jewish community in the region starting from the 10th century, their traditions and customs.
The collections include textiles, books, manuscripts, artifacts. There are departments dedicated to restoration and conservation, loans, and acquisitions, and research.
The Museum of Toys
If you want a few hours of lighthearted yet educational experiences, visiting the Museum of Toys can do you a world of good. Formerly housed in the Prague Castle, it is currently located in the Clam Gallas Palace. The museum houses some stellar exhibits of toys, ancient and modern collected from all parts of the world. The museum was established in 1960 and became an instant hit with people of all age groups. Housed in the already massively popular Prague Castle, the venue of the museum added to the charm of the castle. In addition to the architectural beauty of the palace it was housed in, the venue also became a significantly important cultural landmark since the 1990s, when plays by noted playwrights started being staged here.
The museum houses some very popular artifacts, known for their entertainment value, as well as their mechanical ingenuity and beauty. From tiny farms with meticulously created toy animals and vegetation to a toy clown that moves when its key is wound, there are plenty of amusing displays here. Modern toys also find a place here. Interestingly, the museum houses Barbie dolls from decades past to the modern era, as well as toy robots, motor cars, and games. Also present are clockwork toys from Germany and other parts of the world, which once established the fame of their creators, toy makers who went on to win fame and fortune.
Museum of Gastronomy
For those who love food, or are curious to know more about it, this place is a must visit. This is one of the newest tourist attractions in the city. Established in 2012, the museum was set up with the goal of introducing all aspects of food, from preparation to ingredients, and how food is related to everyday life in different cultures, across time and space. As such, you get to learn about the history of cooking, about how people in prehistoric times learned to use fire to cook, how food habits changed as lifestyles changed, the types of equipment used for cooking through the ages and many other interesting things about food. Plus, there is a brief look into table manners, be it for medieval era nobles or modern gourmands. Visitors will also get to learn the details about a regular grocery store in the city, local beer and visit a wine cellar. The exhibits are classified into history, dining, chefs, Czech gastronomy, patented foods among others. thanks to the universal importance of the theme of food, and keeping in mind the convenience of visitors, the museum also offers information in multiple languages.
The observatory was established in honor of Milan Stefanik, a man of many talents. Throughout his career he was an army general, pilot, and diplomat. People more famously know him as one of the people who helped establish the modern nation of Czechoslovakia. Additionally, he was a scientist, with an interest in astronomy. The observatory is located in one of the older parts of the town, and was created in 1928. For those who love astronomy or those who want to know more, this is a place that delights. The Koenig astrograph, with its massive structure and copious weight, is one of the major attractions for visitors. It also sheds light on astronomical photography in its early days. Another attraction is the Maksutov Cassegrain telescope, and has been in use since the 1970s. It offers a massive magnification of more than 300 times. Visitors can use the observatory to study the sun, with guidance from English speaking staff. After sunset, visitors are introduced to the beauty of the moon, the nine planets of the solar system, and some of the stars within and outside our galaxy. The observatory also offers group tours, and introduces visitors to space and heavenly bodies through documentaries screened on premises.
The museum explores the history and culture of Moravia. Housed across . The museum offers interesting peek into many historical aspects of the region, ranging from prehistoric times, to the middle ages and modern times. There is an exhibit devoted to geology, where visitors get to learn about minerals found in the region. You can learn more about the region’s animal and plant life at the exhibits located in Bishop’s Courtyard. The riches of the former state of Great Moravia are displayed in a separate exhibit, which contains, apart from jewelry, handcrafted products such as kitchen tools and utensils. Small replicas of the first castles in the region, and a scale model of a medieval jeweler’s shop are other attractions for visitors.
Comenius Museum of Pedagogy forms part of the museum and offers a visit that teachers and educators will enjoy. It was established in 1892 with the aim of documenting and offering information about the education and teaching system of the country. In addition to introducing visitors to the history of education in the country, it also offers facilities for study and research. The museum holds exhibits, and also organizes seminars, events, and published matter to disseminate more knowledge about education in the country.
Cold War Museum
The museum sheds light on a part of history that is shrouded in mystery but not too far in the past. The museum will be topmost on the bucket list of people thrilled with the world of spying, secret diplomacy, and the many things that went on behind the Iron Curtain. Housed in the opulent Hotel Jalta, the museum occupies the once secret underground chambers that were meant to become a safe spot for top politicians and important personages in the event of a nuclear war. While the underground complex was never put to its intended use because luckily no nuclear wars took place, it became an important station for the state spies.
The main building continued operating as a regular hotel, gaining fame as a luxurious venue that hosted the mighty and the wealthy from all over the world. This made it convenient for spies stationed underground to keep an eye on the guests. There is no way to estimate the many state secrets and sensitive information that got leaked this way, but the museum currently offers an interesting glimpse into how spies worked back in the Cold War era. Reconstructions of listening stations of the secret police, and equipment that were once used to listen in on secret conversations are on display. Also to be seen here are emergency supplies gathered in preparation of war – gas masks, telex, weapons and so on. For those interested to learn more about ideological positions back in the day, there are displays such as communist banners, photos of former presidents, posters and other materials.
The National Museum of Agriculture
The museum was established in 1891. The museum building itself is of much interest to visitors, who want to learn about modern architecture in the country. The exhibits throw light on practices of producting food, and visitors are introduced to tools, techniques, and equipment. You will get to learn more about mills, wine growing, baking, and similar practices relevant to agriculturists. Housed on premises are archival matter and a library. Plus, you can take advantage of the guided tours and seminars held here, to learn more about farming in the country, in particular in the past three centuries. There is also a small version of a farm on premises, where you can see crop beds, and small farm animals. for those willing to travel outside Prague, the museum offers more valuable insights into farming and food processing. You can learn about beekeeping and parks in times gone by at the museum’s exhibit at Kacina Chateau; hunting and fishing as well as forest conservation at Ohrada Lodge; and flower and fruit growing at Valtice Museum.
National technical museum
If you are fascinated by technology and how it impacts every aspect of our lives, a visit to this museum would be welcome. Visitors from all age groups visit this museum, since the exhibits introduce scientific concepts in an interesting, simple manner. From automobiles and trains, to how home appliances work, and the grand scale of astronomical equipment, there are plenty of things to see and learn here. There are exhibits featuring metallurgy, physics, and chemistry, so a visit to the museum is guaranteed to thrill the scientist in you.