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National Museum

A written report about the founding of the museum was published on 25 April, 1818, but the date of its foundation is recognized as 15 April, 1818, when the text for a solemn gathering of leading members of the Czech nobility was approved. A temporary committee was instituted which, on 11 June, 1820, received permission from the government in Vienna to the effect that the museum could be established as a society. Thus the "Society of the Patriotic Museum in Bohemia" originated and at the instituting general assembly on 23 December, 1822, Kaspar Sternberk was elected its first president.
Everyone contributed to the beginnings of the museum by giving what he had and what he could. Rare manuscripts from the 10th century, parchment folio-volumes, codexes, old prints, whole libraries, collections of coins. However, other gifts also arrived in the form of rarities and exotic curiosities collected by owners of castles and châteaux for the pleasure of visitors. The common people also frequently presented their museum with their most valuable possessions even though the value of the respective articles was low at that time. Now the situation is different, because time has lent them worth regardless of the value 27 of their material.

As the museum did not have its own building, its collections were initially located in Sternberk Palace in the Hradcany quarter of Prague. The rented rooms were damp and cold, however, and the zoological exhibits housed in them thus began to rot. Moreover, people were unable to work in them in the winter months. The Czech Estates thus purchased Nostic Palace in the street called Na PHkope and lent it to the museum. When the necessary repairs of the building were completed in 1847 the collections were transferred to its interiors.

21 December, 1834

The poster in the photograph informed the contemporary reader that the premiere of Josef Kajetan Tyl's play "Fidlovac'ka aneb zadny hnev a zadna rvaiSka" (Fidlovaika or No Anger and No Brawl) was to take place on 21 December, 1834. (Fidlovac'ka was the name of the Prague spring festivities.) The song which Frantisek Skroup wrote for the play, called "Kde domov muj" (Where Is My Home) became the Czech national anthem. Due to its rebellious tendency a ban was placed on the play and it was never again per­formed during J. K. Tyl's and F. Skroup's lifetime.


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