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National Museum



The building of the National Museum houses some 125,000 minerals, some 4,000 precious stones, over 15,000 tectites, a paleontological department with about 2,500,000 exhibits, a mycological department containing some 160,000 species of mushrooms and a collection of over 120,000 lichen exhibits. The 30 partly detached botanical department concentrates approximately 1,300,000 herbal items, while the entomological department has more than 5,000,000 exhibits of stuffed insects. And so we could continue, because the other departments and scientific work-rooms have equally rich collections and work programmes. It is thus quite clear that the visitor cannot view all the exhibits. This is prevented by the limited exhibition space, the sensitiveness of certain materials and their lack of resistance to light and air and, in some cases, their priceless value. However, from time to time they are transferred from the depositories and safes to show-cases so that visitors have the possibility of admiring them. Not only in the main building, but also in others which cannot be dealt with in this publication: in the Ethnographical Museum in the Petrfn Gardens in the Smichov quarter of Prague, in the Naprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures in Bethlehem Square in Prague 1, in the Museum of Czech Music in Prague 1, accessible from the embankment, and others.

On the following pages you will see some of the exhibits in the form of colour photographs taken by Pavel Canda, the words "we can't see everything" applying also in this case. Nevertheless, you will see enough to afford you an idea of the treasures housed in the National Museum in Prague.

Jensky Codex Babicka

Jan Zizka, portrayed in the noteworthiest Hussite book relic, the "Jensky Codex", dated in the first decade of the 16th century. This codex occupies a wholly exceptional place in the history of the Czech book due to its review of the fall of the feudal society and unjust social conditions and also because of its artistic value.

The woman writer Bozena Nemcova began to write her novel "Babicka" (Grand­mother), known also in numerous translations, at the end of 1853. She wrote it to console herself in her state of constant want and wretchedness. It was not until the year 1855 that she found a publisher for it and this first unbound serial edition, which gained her a fee of 151 guldens and 20 groats, is now of exceptional value.


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