Visit a unique exhibition that takes you through the clothing etiquette of the wives of Czech and Czechoslovak presidents
The exhibition entitled First Ladies – Fashion & Style in the New Building of the National Museum presents the clothing etiquette of the wives of Czech and Czechoslovak presidents. It will take you through a period of a hundred years and bring you closer to the changing times and social climate, but also to the different approaches to fashion of the twelve First Ladies, from Charlotta Masaryková to the current First Lady. The exhibition was placed under the auspices of Eva Pavlová, the president's wife.
You can look forward to authentic models and accessories of the wives of presidents or fashion pieces in this style, which reflect the taste and style of every First Lady, during both her official or ceremonial life and everyday life. The exhibition shows how the rules of appropriate behaviour and dress in general have changed over the past hundred years, and you can also see collection items that accompanied the Czech and Czechoslovak presidents themselves, and which they used directly for their daily needs or to decorate their homes.
Since the exhibition is arranged thematically rather than chronologically, in two halls, you can get an idea of the taste of the individual partners of the presidents. Each of them had a different approach to fashion. While the uptight Charlotta Masaryková mostly wore a white batiste blouse paired with a stand-up collar and a long skirt, and was progressive only in her political views, Hana Benešová typically wore elegant costumes styled with hats and gloves. Marta Gottwaldová was famous for her efforts to imitate the style of her predecessor and for her fur coats, which she wore even in summer. Marie Zápotocká and Božena Novotná were the opposite - they were the wives of the presidents of the working class, who hardly fit into the environment of the Prague Castle in their shapeless dresses and costumes. On the other hand, Irena Svobodová brought historical furniture and refinement back to the Castle. The approach of modern First Ladies was and is very distinctive. Over the course of the 20th century, clothing etiquette has changed, shrunk and renewed itself. Under the influence of the social and political situation, some traditional values lost their importance and were replaced by other values.
In the two halls, you will find dozens of unique objects connected with the lives of Czech and Czechoslovak presidential couples, accompanied by quotations from books on etiquette from Guth-Jarkovský to Ladislav Špaček. On display are, for example, Hana Benešová's evening dress, hat, handbag or dressing gown, Dagmar Havlová's stage costume, Livia Klausová's trouser suit, Božena Novotná's silk scarf, Charlotta Masaryková's formal dress and shoes, Olga Havlová's pullover, Irena Svobodová's pearl necklace, a gramophone cabinet from the Zápotocký household and Viera Husáková's powder compact, which she had with her aboard the helicopter, the crash of which she did not survive.
The exhibition also includes a getlemen's lounge with interesting literature, the opportunity to try on a period hat in the style of the First Ladies or to take a vintage photo with one of the presidents with the help of computer technology.
on September 21 and 22, 2023, the First Ladies – Fashion and Style exhibition in the New Building of the National Museum will be CLOSED for technical reasons.
We apologize and thank you for your understanding.
Tickets to the Museum Complex can be purchased on-line, in mobile app, self-service ticket machine or at the box office in the Historical or New Building.
The e-ticket is valid for 30 days from the day of purchase for a one time entry.
Free admission (tickets only available at the box office): children from children’s homes or SOS children’s villages; holders of physical disability cards and people accompanying them; holders of cards: ICOM, Slovak National Museum, the National Museum Society, Benefit card of the European GNSS Agency – the Ministry of Transport, Prague Card, employee of a contributory organization of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (for cardholders only)
Visiting rules of the Museum Complex of the National Museum