A museum is like an encyclopaedia. Except instead of pages and editors, it has depositories and people who care for the items inside. Much of the work of curators, restorers, collection managers, digitisation specialists, and other professionals goes on “behind the stage”. Each item’s entry into the museum is framed with a number of specialised steps, and any activity applied to the object on its path from acquisition to artefact adds to its importance. More often than not, this museum work also shines new light on older, previously acquired items, which were thought to have been fully explored.
Exhibitions bring together artefacts made of various materials, of diverse geographical origin, and with different forms of acquisition. The Historical Museum, which is part of the National Museum in Prague, continued to care and enrich its collections throughout the recent reconstruction of the Historical Building of the National Museum. The department systematically expanded its depositories via donations, purchases, collection events, discoveries, exchanges, escheats, transfers, and surveys (diggings). In the past two years alone, it received 4,949 items as gifts and obtained another 287 items by purchase; 624 artefacts were restored, 3,415 items were conserved.