The Secret Lives of Collections is an exhibition that offers insight into the otherwise hidden workings of museum life.
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.
Permanent exhibitions will open gradually to visitors during 2020.
Due to the limited capacity of the dome, tickets cannot be purchased in advance, but only on the day of the visit, on presentation of a valid ticket to the museum. Viewing of the cupola is allowed only after purchasing a ticket for a particular time at the museum's cash desk.
Visitors are admitted to the cupola in groups at 30 minute intervals between 10:30 and 17:30.
Due to the character of the building and its technical capacity, access to the dome is not barrier-free.
Entrance of the exhibition without reservation.
Groups: 10% discount from the standard admission fee – for an organised group of 30 or more people with collective paymen (except for school groups).
Free admission: Children up to 6 years; children from children’s homes or SOS children’s villages; holders of physical disability cards (ZTP, ZTP/P and people accompanying them); ICOM, the National Museum Society; holders of the Benefit card of the European GNSS Agency – the Ministry of Transport, Prague Card.
Filming, taking photos (no flash) for noncommercial use – free with valid ticket.
The ticket must be kept for the duration of the visit.