One of the Prague neo-renaissance jewels, Prague Museum of Decorative Arts dedicated to applied art and design is a place you should not miss when in Prague. Designed by architect Josef Schulz (who also designed Rudolfinum, a concert hall across the street from museum), it houses extensive collections of ceramics, porcelain, textile & period fashion, toys, jewelry, and more, it is a dream of every art lover. The museum has been extensively reconstructed and re-opened in November 2017.
Originally, a building dates back to 1897 inspired by similar institution in London, the South Kensington Museum (today, Victoria and Albert Museum). The Museum soon became an important cultural and educational center in the Bohemian Kingdom, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and important figures of the art/business/political life were appointed to the Museum Board including a progressive feminist (quite unusual at that time) Vojtech Naprstek.
In addition to its permanent exhibitions, it offers magnificent decoration throughout the building, its halls and staircase featuring various art crafts such as weaving, basketry, embroidery and lace making, goldsmithing and jewelry making, bell-founding, tin-making, wood-carving, printing, book making, stone masonry, glass making, pottery and porcelain manufacture. The vestibule displays stuccowork but also beautiful electrical brass candelabras, a gift from the Czech inventor, Frantisek Krizik. Before the reconstruction, the vast majority of the museum was not open to public, so this is a unique opportunity to admire the beauty of the entire building for the first time in years.
Couple days ago, a poster of doll houses caught my eye and so I went to see the Dolls’ houses exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts. The small houses are part of the travelling exhibition by V&A Museum of Childhood in London. It is like going back to the childhood with this tiny furniture, chandeliers, vases, carpets and of course tiny dolls inside the houses. I did not have time to see all exhibitions in the museum but I really wanted to see the famous staircase. The trick is to go to the 6th floor (there is an elevator) and then walk back downstairs and enjoy all the painted beauty. If you have time though, see the exhibition halls with Votive hall being probably the most beautiful of all of them.
…and don’t miss the museum shop, great gift ideas to bring from Prague, for which your family and friends will love you!