Press release on the opening of the Masaryk Phenomenon exhibition
In September, we commemorated the 80th anniversary of the death of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the founder of Czechoslovakia and its first president. On the occasion of this anniversary, the National Museum prepared an exhibition called The Masaryk Phenomenon, which introduces this important historical figure not only as the “president-liberator” and “father Masaryk”, but also as an educated and principled man, a husband and father, and a personality both loved and hated by the public. Until January 2018, unique film and audio materials and, of course, collection pieces, like Masaryk's light casual suit and his death mask, will be on show. Examples of his correspondence and other personal items of the Masaryk family will not be lacking. The main exhibition will be complemented by smaller ones dedicated to interesting topics relating to Masaryk's life, such as the dispute over the Manuscripts and the Hilsner affair. Until 2 October 2017, visitors have a very rare opportunity to see the original Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora.
“Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk is one of the phenomenal figures of Czech history. A figure whose ideas and actions were ahead of his time. Although 80 years have passed since his death, his legacy is still alive and perhaps even more current than ever. The National Museum decided to organize an exhibition about Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk on this occasion, portraying him not only as a politician and the founder of our state, but also a man with strong moral principles, a convinced democrat and an extraordinary person. Our ambition is not only to remember him, but above all to show the younger generation his principles and his importance for contemporary society and our moral values", said the Director General of the National Museum, Michal Lukeš.
President-liberator, husband, father, professor, but most of all human
Did you know that Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was expelled from grammar school? That he did not like to speak in public? That from a certain point on, he did not drink any alcohol at all? Actually, what comes to mind when you hear the name Masaryk?
The exhibition will show Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk from various perspectives. “We wanted to introduce the person of Tomáš, the husband Garrigue, the public figure Masaryk, the active and influential professor and the seemingly untouchable President. We even included his Image after 1937. Most of all, however, we wished to show the man's courage to stand by his truth", adds Michal Stehlík, the main author of the exhibition concept.
A variety of unique collection items, books, photographs, video footage and other documents help to give an idea of T. G. Masaryk's tremendously rich life. The items on show include, for example, Masaryk’s light casual suit, which is one of the TOP items of the National Museum's collections, or the eagle quill with which Masaryk signed the Declaration of Common Aims of the Mid-European Nations in Philadelphia in 1918. Ladies will certainly admire Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk’s simple but stylish evening dress and other personal objects of the Masaryk family. There will also be Masaryk’s personal correspondence, family documents and the library presenting his writings and books. Moreover, the exhibition space is stylized in the shape of a linden tree, which is the Czech national tree.
In another part of the exhibition, the exhibits reflect society’s view of Masaryk’s "image" – from strong emotions after his death and burial in the autumn of 1937, to subsequent changes during both dictatorships.
A rich accompanying programme is prepared in the form of lectures and guided tours of the exhibitions and film shows, and for children a special trail is prepared that will lead them in an entertaining way through the whole exhibition.
A number of programmes for schools have been prepared for the occasion of the exhibition, aimed not only at the older primary school pupils and secondary school students, but also at the youngest, the first and second year pupils. The interactive printout guide to the exhibition is suitable even for nursery school children.
The original Manuscripts of Hradec Králové and Zelená hora
The Masaryk Phenomenon exhibition will be complemented during its running by three smaller accompanying exhibitions that will deal in more detail with topics relating to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk's life. The first of them concentrates on the Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora (15. 9. – 2. 10. 2017); another is on the trials of Leopold Hilsner (3. 10. – 30. 11. 2017); and the last one presents rare photographs from the Castle’s photo archive (1. 12. 2017 – 31. 1. 2018), created by the activities of the Press Department of the Ministerial Council between 1918 and 1933.
As part of The Masaryk Phenomenon exhibition (15. 9. 2017 - 31. 1. 2018), three small temporary exhibitions will run, which will present the Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and Zelená hora, the Hilsner Affair and the Prague Castle Photographic Archives with photographs from 1918-1933.
The Manuscripts of Dvůr Králové and Zelená Hora are put on show for the first time. They are displayed only between 15. 9. and 2. 10. 2017.
Do not miss this rare opportunity to see with your own eyes the originals of these controversial documents, which in their time divided both the public and the experts into two implacable camps.
The exhibition of these manuscripts concentrates on the disputes and fights over the confirmation or refutation of the authenticity of these works. In particular, it presents the new restoration research on the Manuscripts that is currently underway in the National Museum.