Events at the start of the celebrations on September 9, 2016
The Czech museum world celebrates an important anniversary. The oldest museum institutions remember the anniversary of their foundation. The Moravian Museum is going to celebrate its bicentenary in 2017.
On July 29, 1817 Emperor Francis I approved by a decree the foundation of a museum (and agreed that the museum would bear his name). However, first collection inventories had existed long before. Since 1808 they had been deposited in the storerooms in the Bishop´s Court and soon after the foundation of the museum they started to augment quickly. Their basis consisted of abundant gifts from noble museum founders (mostly botanical and mineralogical collections) and numbered some 8 000 items. Gradually, further collections came into being and that is where the way to the 6 million collection items of the today Moravian Museum started.
And because this anniversary is very important even in the context of the today modern society we decided to declare the year preceding the anniversary itself the “year of celebrations”. A rich programme has been prepared for the visitors; it will start on Friday, 9 September 2016 in the Bishop´s Court.
Programme of the festivities:
Opening the coffer with Great Moravian treasure
9 September from 1 p.m., Bishop´s Court, Muzejní 1, Brno
Unlocking the coffer with Great Moravian treasure containing gilded replicas of jewels of Great Moravian princesses – earrings, ring and pendant (”gombík”). There are 5 000 keys but the only one is the right one. On 9 September it will be clear who gets this unique collection. In the programme prepared for that day, scientific museum departments will present their activities in an entertaining way. You can enjoy the determination of minerals, make small figures from clay, observe Mendel´s beehive, assemble a puppet theatre from paper, assist to a demonstration of conservation work, decorate Easter eggs or take part in a guided tour through the exhibition Fauna of Moravia. Several surprises have been prepared for small and adult visitors including refreshment. Simply, it will be a pleasant day in the Moravian Museum...
To close the festive evening, the band Poletíme? will perform in the Bishop´s Court at 8 p.m. Tickets for the concert (100 CZK) will be sold from 1 August 2016 at box offices of the Moravian Museum. The holders of the rest of the keys do not need to be disappointed – they can use their keys as a discounted ticket for 20 Czech crowns for the concert.
On 9 September, a series of exhibitions will start presenting particular scientific departments of the Moravian Museum. On display will be the most valuable collection items, the visitors will get acquainted with the history of the departments, the most important discoveries and personalities of the concerned fields. The Anthropos Institute the storerooms of which hide one of the most valuable collection items, the national cultural monument the Venus of Věstonice, will start the presentation.
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The first idea of founding a museum in Brno
In the context of the profound reorganization of scientific activities in Moravia, the idea of the creation of a museum in Brno appears.
The oldest documented collection acquisition
The oldest collection inventory proving the efforts of the creation of a museum comes from 1808.
29 July 1817
Issue of the museum foundation deed
Emperor Francis I approves the foundation of Brno museum called Francis Museum (Franzensmuseum) in his honour.
24 March 1818
The Moravian-Silesian governor count Mittrowski issues an organization chart announcing the museum foundation to the public.
The first mention of exhibiting the Francis Museum´s collections
The oldest exhibition of the museum collections was a rather heterogeneous assemblage of rarities and curiosities. There were meteorites, minerals, stuffed animals, fruit wax models, coins, etc.
Opening of the Francis Museum Library
In August, the museum library was opened to the public; its holdings grew together with the amount of the collections.
Foundation of the Francis Museum Art Association
The Association was founded to support the development of the Francis Museum´s art collections. The members´ subscriptions were used e.g. to purchase paintings for the museum picture gallery. However, the association was dissolved in 1841.
Curator Albin Heinrich
Albin Heinrich (1785-1864) was an important scientific staff member of the Francis Museum and an eminent personality of Moravian cultural history. He came to Brno in 1831 and became professor at the German Grammar School. In 1836 he was appointed museum curator and devoted himself particularly to ordering and augmenting natural history collections. He contributed to the general improvement of the museum level.
Curator Moritz Wilhelm Trapp
Moritz Wilhelm Trapp (1825-1895) started working in the Francis Museum in 1859 and took up the position of the assistant curator. He had studied history, Antiquity and art heritage at the Prague Philosophical Faculty. After the death of Albin Heinrich he succeeded to him as curator and followed up with his successful scientific activities. He focused mainly on history, archaeology, history of art and museum affairs. Thanks to his efforts, Moravian prehistory got to the centre of the researchers´ interest.
Construction of d'Elvert Wing
Thanks to regular yearly supply of regional subsidies the museum could afford the construction of the so called d'Elvert Wing that completed the Bishop´s Courtyard at the city wall side (today Bašty street).
The Museum Library becomes the independent Moravian Library
The lack of space for museum needs led to the library becoming independent. It became then an autonomous institution, the today Moravian Library.
Annales Musei Franciscei
The first periodical presenting the activities of the Francis Museum appeared in four volumes (1896-1899).
The museum under the Moravian Margraviate administration
In late June 1899 the Moravian Land Committee signed with the liquidation board of the Agricultural Society an agreement on the transfer of the museum into the Moravian Margraviate administration. The festive assignment act took place on 11 January 1900.
Curator Karel Absolon
In 1907, Dr. Karel Absolon (1877-1960), grandson of the famous archaeologist Jindřich Wankel, was appointed curator of the natural history collections. During his work in the Moravian Museum he focused mainly on research in the Moravian Karst and many of his discoveries achieved worldwide repute.
Acquisition of the Dietrichstein Palace
Since 1908 the acquisition of the Dietrichstein Palace was in question where large exhibition projects could be staged. The ground floor and a part of the first floor were adapted to museum purposes in September 1911; the whole building was ready in 1923.
The Moravian Museum Association stops managing the museum
The Moravian Museum Association that had often been criticized for insufficient management of the museum was released from its administration and the Moravian Museum was definitely cut off the old regime and set out towards reorganization, new trends and transformation into a modern museum institution.
Jaroslav Helfert appointed the first museum director
The new statutes from the 12 February 1923 stipulated that the museum should be an institution carrying out natural and social history research and in the same time being a cultural and scientific centre of Moravia. The first director of the Moravian Museum was Dr. Jaroslav Helfert (1883-1972), since 1909 the museum secretary and head of the department of Moravian ethnography and plastic art. He stayed director till 1939 and after the war continued to fulfil this role in 1946-1948.
New permanent exhibitions in the Bishop´s Court and Dietrichstein Palace
New permanent exhibitions were inaugurated during a festive ceremony on 15 November 1924. In the Bishop´s Court the visitors could see various natural history collections, in the Dietrichstein Palace collections of agricultural equipment, and ethnographic and archaeological collections.
Venus of Věstonice, one of the highlights of the museum
On 13 July 1925 the team of Karel Absolon made one of the greatest findings of Moravian archaeology. In the ash layer of a prehistoric settlement they discovered a small sculpture, the worldwide known Venus of Věstonice.
Exhibition of contemporary culture in Brno
Presentation of archaeological collections of the Moravian Museum at the Exhibition of contemporary culture held in Brno. The archaeological exhibition continued under the title Anthropos even after the end of the Exhibition of contemporary culture.
15 March 1939
Locking up the museum collections and handing over to German administrators
In the moment of German occupation, representatives of Brno Nazis had the collections of the Moravian Museum closed and the museum was submitted to German administration. Prof. Josef Freising as a designated commissary administrator took over the museum management on 16 March 1939.
4 September 1944
Due to approaching war front and allied air raids growing stronger the closure of all museums in the Protectorate was ordered. The staff of the Moravian Museum had to concentrate on protection, registration and air raid sheltering of the collections. Soviet air raids on 8 and 11 April 1945 damaged partially museum buildings, the biggest damages occurred during direct fights in Brno lasting till 26 April 1945.
2 May 1945
The museum taking over by the Provincial National Committee
The German museum administrator Dr. Edmund Küttler handed over the museum administration to Dr. Karel Černohorský.
27 April 1946
The first post-war opening of museum premises
After difficult war years and all-out effort of the consolidation of the situation after the liberation, the museum started slowly to return to its usual work. In late April 1946 the first post-war permanent exhibition with the title Moravian Fauna was inaugurated in the Bishop´s Court. In following months further exhibition galleries were opened.
10 May 1949
The Ministry of Education, Science and Arts took over the administration of the museum
In the context of inauspicious development of the political situation leading to the coup d´état in 1948, organizational changes were implemented in the Moravian Museum too. The Moravian-Silesian land was cancelled on 10 May 1949 and the museum was transferred to the administration of the Ministry of Education, Science and Arts.
Prehistory of Moravia
The large permanent exhibition „Prehistory of Moravia“ prepared by the archaeologist Vilém Hrubý and the architect Vilém Hank was inaugurated in May 1950. In 1952-1953 ethnographic collections were presented to the public in a new permanent display in the Dietrichstein Palace.
Refurbishment of the house in Smetanova street 14 for the purposes of Leoš Janáček Museum
At the end of 1953 the museum obtained the permission to adapt the house in Smetanova street 14 for the purposes of Leoš Janáček Museum. The refurbishment started in 1954 und the department of the History of Music moved there in 1956.
The museum obtains the Palace of Noble Ladies
The Palace of Noble Ladies in Kobližná street had been damaged during the American air raid in 1944 and its demolition was considered. However, the museum acquired it in 1957 and after a renovation based on the project of architect Bohuslav Fuchs carried out in 1957-1961, the permanent ethnographic exhibition entitled „Folk in five generations“ was inaugurated in the Palace of Noble Ladies in 1961.
Director Dr. Jan Jelínek
At the end of 1958, the anthropologist Jan Jelínek was appointed director. He held this post until 1971. In 1962 a service of museology was created becoming a department of museology in 1963. In the same year Dr. Jelínek together with Z.Z. Stránský and architect V. Hank founded an external chair of museology at the Philosophical Faculty /J.E. Purkyně University. Until 1979, Dr. Jelínek held the post of the President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
1 January 1961
The museum starts being administered by the Municipal National Committee Brno
Another reorganization takes place at the beginning of the year and the City of Brno becomes the funding body of the Moravian Museum. In August 1961 the Board of the Municipal National Committee passes new organizational statutes of the Moravian Museum.
1 April 1961
Separation of the Picture Gallery from the museum and creation of the Moravian Gallery
The picture gallery, previously part of the Moravian Museum, was integrated into the Museum of Arts and Crafts and a new institution was created – the Moravian Gallery.
Opening of the Anthropos Pavilion
First terrain works in the area of the future Anthropos Pavilion in the Pisárky Park were implemented in 1958. Even before the completion of the building in 1961 the exhibition “Rock Art” was inaugurated in the ground floor. The whole building was completed in 1962.
1 January 1963
The museum passes into the administration of the Regional National Committee
The administration of the museum by the municipality did not last long; two years later expected funding problems occurred and some museum premises were in danger of being taken away from the museum. This resulted in another change of the funding body and the museum passed under the regional administration.
Foundation of the Department of Genetics
The department started to work in the second half of 1963, in 1965 the Mendelianum – Memorial of Johann Gregor Mendel was inaugurated in the Augustinian monastery at Staré Brno. In 2002 it had to move to the ombudsman´s building in Údolní street, currently it is situated, together with the department of the History of biological sciences, in the high-rise building in Hudcova street.
Celebrations of the museum 150th anniversary
In 1968 great celebrations took place on the occasion of 150 years of the museum existence; they commemorated the factual foundation of the museum in 1818.
Opening of the Memorial of Kralice Printing Works
The construction of the Memorial of Kralice Printing Works (today Memorial of Kralice Bible) was based on the project of Prof. B. Fuchs. The following year the museum took it over and since 1975 the house presented the permanent exhibition „Historical role of Kralice Printing Works“.
The museum acquires the castle Budišov u Třebíče
Due to numerous acquisitions the museum needed new storerooms; in May 1972 it acquired the castle of Budišov with an extended park. The castle houses storeroom of the zoological department. Since 1991 they have been open to the public.
The museum acquires the Old Castle in Jevišovice near Znojmo
The Old Castle also started to be used as a storage facility, mainly for ethnographic collections. Today it serves for exhibition purposes too.
The museum acquires the castle Nové Zámky near Nesovice
The Renaissance castle Nové Zámky near Nesovice belonged to the museum till 1995 when it was restituted to the former owner.
1 January 1991
The Ministry of Culture becomes the administrating body of the museum
Since 1991 the museum has been administrated directly by the Ministry of Culture. It also returns to its original name reflecting its sphere of activity („land“ of Moravia) that it had lost in 1949.
24 October 1991
Festive opening of the Dietrichstein Palace
After many years´ renovations the Dietrichstein Palace was reopened. It houses new permanent exhibitions: Prehistory of Moravia, Great Moravia, Extinct Life in Moravia and World of Minerals. In 1994 another exhibition was inaugurated – Moravian Village in Middle Ages. Photographs: Festive opening of the Dietrichstein Palace, Director J. Pernes, archaeologist L. Galuška and Prime Minister P. Pithart visiting the exhibition Great Moravia.
17 November 1992
Opening of the Children´s Museum / Moravian Museum
The Children´s Museum created in the Moravian Museum was the first newly conceived department for museum work with children in the Czech Republic and the then only establishment of this type in the countries of the former Eastern bloc.
Today, the Children´s Museum carries out its own exhibition projects and presents the work of scientific departments of the Moravian Museum in the form of specialized learning programmes and thematic workshops both for the wide public and for school and interest groups including handicapped visitors.
The museum acquires the premises in Rebešovice near Brno
The premises in Rebešovice have been housing extended storerooms and a conservation workshop.
Inception of the Centre for Museum Pedagogy
The Methodical Centre for Museum Pedagogy deals with all aspects of museum work and use of museum collections. It provides methodical support and consultations both to the museum staff and the visitors.
1 January 2005
Inception of CITeM
The Methodical Centre for Information Technologies in Museums supports museums and galleries in the application of IT, especially in the field of collection management. It organizes training courses for museum staff, participates actively in the elaboration of international standards, and facilitates the communication between museum staff and IT specialists.
An important modification of the organizational structure of the museum
Creation of the Historical Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Art History Museum – three entities responsible for the scientific work within the Moravian Museum.
Opening of the Visitor Centre Mendelianum
The modern science and visitor centre was opened after two years´ preparations on 3 November 2014, the festive inauguration took place on 8 March 2015.
Creation of the Centre for cultural-political history of the 20th century
The Centre for cultural-political history of the 20th century is a collecting, documentation, educational and scientific research department of the Moravian Museum focusing on the cultural-political history of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Creation of the Centre for Slavonic Archaeology
The Centre for Slavonic Archaeology was established as an independent body in the frame of the Moravian Museum on 1 April 2015. It is seated in Uherské Hradiště, has a terrain station in Staré Město and one office in Brno, at the Archaeological Institute/Moravian Museum. It follows up with the activities of the section of Slavonic archaeology within the Archaeological Institute/Moravian Museum working mainly in Staré Město.