18. 6. 2020

The best of Prague’s museums and galleries

There’s more to the Czech capital than beautiful views and romantic walks through historical streets and parks. If you thirst for art or knowledge, there are plenty of museums and galleries at your disposal. The following list includes the most interesting from the Prague museum and gallery scene.

The National Museum and its buildings

The National Museum is the largest museum in the Czech Republic. It focuses on multiple scientific disciplines and collection areas, from natural sciences to specialized fields of social sciences. It brings together collections that provide material evidence of the development of nature, prehistory and history of Czech and foreign provenance. The museum exhibitions are located in several buildings in Prague. 

National Gallery Prague

The second oldest gallery in Europe after the Louvre in Paris offers top works of Czech and international fine art in its permanent exhibitions. The exhibition spaces of the National Gallery are currently located in the following buildings: the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, the Schwarzenberg Palace, and the Trade Fair Palace.

Lobkowicz Palace

The only private building in the Prague Castle complex is home to a museum housing the art collections of the Lobkowicz family, considered to be the largest and oldest art collections still in possession of their original owners in the Czech Republic. They include paintings by world-famous painters, as well as musical instruments and manuscripts by important composers from the 17th to the 19th century, such as Beethoven and Mozart. 

Museum of Decorative Arts

The main building of the Museum of Decorative Arts is once again open to the public after an extensive renovation. The beautiful interiors are home to exhibitions that will be gradually expanded. Visitors can view unique exhibits, from furniture and glass to textile fashion, jewelry, toys, and photography.

Kampa Museum

One of Prague’s most attractive museums of modern art can be found in the former Sova Mills (Sovový mlýny) in the Lesser Town. The collection of Jan and Meda Mládek comprises a collection of works by the pioneer of abstract art František Kupka, the Czech Cubist sculptor Otto Gutfreund, and works by important 20th century “Eastern bloc” artists. Short-term exhibitions present the work of Czech artists. The current special summer exhibition features the work of Alfons Mucha, the main representative of Art Nouveau painting, in dialogue with that of Pasta Oner, a leading figure of the Czech contemporary visual scene.

DOX Center for Contemporary Art

A multifunctional space in Prague’s Holešovice district for the presentation of international and Czech art, architecture and design located in a renovated complex of industrial buildings from the 19th century. The DOX Center is a dynamic cultural platform and space for confrontation of different approaches and trends. The dominant feature of the center is a uniquely designed architectural project, the Gulliver Airship, inspired by the elegant shapes of airships from the early twentieth century. It sits on the roof of the gallery and is a meeting place for contemporary art and literature.

National Technical and Agricultural Museum

A pair of monumental functionalist buildings in the Letná district offers extensive unique collections documenting the development of many technical disciplines, natural and exact sciences, and industry and agriculture. The National Agricultural Museum also has a roof garden that offers a beautiful view of Prague.

Prague City Gallery

The Prague City Gallery focuses primarily on modern and contemporary art, and is also responsible for the upkeep of Prague’s monuments, statues, and fountains. The gallery’s collections are on display in several buildings in Prague, including the Bílek Villa in Hradčany, Troja Chateau, and the House at the Stone Bell on Old Town Square.

The City of Prague Museum

The museum manages countless collections tracing the history of the capital city of Prague. Archaeological collections form the core of the museum’s exhibitions. The main building in Florenc is currently closed due to renovations, but all other museum buildings, including two unique villas, are in operation. In addition, the museum manages six of Prague’s most popular towers, including the Petřín Lookout Tower and the Mirror Maze. 

Cold War Museum in the Jalta Hotel

The museum is located in a former nuclear fallout shelter in the basement of the luxury hotel Jalta. The Communists built the shelter not only for their dignitaries, but also for senior Warsaw Pact officers. Situated ten meters underground, it housed the StB until 1989, which listened in to hotel guests from the West.

Museum of Public Transportation – Střešovice Depot

The museum is located in the historical premises of the tram depot in Střešovice, in a building that is itself a technical monument. The unique collection offers visitors over forty historical vehicles and other exhibits, such as period photographs, models of old trains, historical documents, tickets, and posters. Newly added to the exhibition is a “dark tram”, which people used during World War II.

Portheimka – Museum of Glass

The only museum in Prague dedicated to the phenomenon of art glass is located in the beautifully decorated representative spaces of the Baroque Portheimka summer house in Smíchov. On the ground floor of the villa is a stylish café with a garden that is open during the summer months. Currently on display is an exhibition of luxury Czech Stardust jewelry. 

Charles Bridge Museum

Directly adjacent to Charles Bridge, in several halls of the original Knights of the Cross hospital and the Church of the Holy Spirit, is a museum dedicated to the second oldest stone bridge in the Czech Republic. Here you’ll learn more about the history of this unique place and unique building. The link across the Vltava River will take us not only from the Old Town to the Lesser Town, but also to the time of the coronation of the Czech kings, who passed over Charles Bridge on these occasions.