During his eleven years of exploration in South Africa, traveller Dr. Emil Holub collected tens of thousands of objects, made observations covering the fields of natural history and ethnography, hunted game, and studied the ethnic groups he encountered on his travels. His portrait with a typical tropical helmet is basically iconic. To this day, his immense popularity has been exploited by various artistic and advertising projects, shaping and distorting the traveller into an image that has become almost cult-like.

The aim of the Emil Holub exhibition is not to convey a comprehensive view of Holub's personality, but to open up questions directed towards the present. How do we perceive Emil Holub and the activities associated with him today? How do various myths and legends influence this perception? What is the value of Holub's collections, how did he work with them and how does contemporary exhibition and collection-building work with them? Where can we see objects from these collections? How do we perceive Holub through the lens of colonial studies?

The exhibition is divided into four parts. The first one is devoted to two journeys to Africa that Holub made in the 1870s and 1880s. Through several examples, it shows how Holub created a depiction of the course of these journeys, what their original goals were, how they were fulfilled, and how they were reacted to by some of the later products of mass culture. It also shows the most important discoveries made by Holub during his expeditions in South Africa and presents his natural history collection.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on Holub's activities and opinions in the context of his time and the thinking of said time. 

The third part of the exhibition is dedicated to the ethnographic collection. Through various types of object installation, it highlights both Holub's special approach to creating the collection and its transport from Africa and later storage in the museum's depository. It also opens up the question of how to work with the collection today and what relevance it has nowadays.

The last part is devoted to Holub's South African Exhibition in Prague, which took place at the Prague Exhibition Centre in 1892 and which became the culmination of Holub's lifelong exhibition activities.

The exhibition offers a number of ethnographic objects, natural history exhibits, photographs, drawings, books and posters, as well as diaries and notebooks, which you will be able to flip through using a digital application. We can be reminded of Holub's status of a legendary traveller by excerpts from Czech feature films, an advertising spot and a video clip by a well-known punk band.

The Emil Holub exhibition was created in cooperation with the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Opening hours

Monday closed
Tuesday 10:00  -  18:00
Wednesday 09:00  -  18:00
Thursday 10:00  -  18:00
Friday 10:00  -  18:00
Saturday 10:00  -  18:00
Sunday 10:00  -  18:00

Entrance fees

Tickets can be purchased on-line or at the box office.

On Saturday, June 1, 2024, entry to the National Museum is FREE, please do not buy tickets for a visit on this day.

Whole building

Adult 120 CZK
Reduced Reduced:
– senior citizens over the age of 65
– juveniles 15–18 years old
– holders of ISIC or ITIC cards
– high school and university students upon presentation of a student identity card (up to 26 years)
80 CZK
School excursions 15–26 years School excursions (15–26 years):
– organized school groups with pedagogical support
– 3 members of the teaching staff free of charge
– it is not possible to reserve a visit time, tickets only at the ticket office
Children up to 15 years Only accompanied by an adult FREE ADMISSION

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 disability cards and people accompanying them; holders of cards: ICOM, Slovak National Museum, Benefit card of the European GNSS Agency – the Ministry of Transport, Prague Card, CoolPass

Additional information about tickets

Photography and filming for non-commercial purposes and without the use of flash and tripod included in the ticket price.

Please bring tickets purchased on-line (valid for 30 days from the date of purchase for a one time entry) printed or stored on your mobile phone.

The ticket must be kept for the duration of the entire visit.

Purchased tickets cannot be returned or changed.