Tenth museum night off to a late start
New date set after floods washed out the original plan
Posted: September 11, 2013
Museum goers make use of the free buses at náměstí Jana Palacha.
2013 is a special year for the annual Prague Museum Night, which will take place Sept. 14, after having its original June date canceled due to flooding in the city. To start with, it's the 10th anniversary of this popular annual event, in which a number of cultural institutions in Prague, including museums and galleries, stay open "after hours," competing with bars and restaurants for the attention of the city's night owls.
"This extraordinary event, which is visited by almost 200,000 people every year, presents a unique opportunity to explore the cultural treasures of the Czech capital in a completely different ambiance," Ivana Havlíková of the National Museum, which is coordinating of the event, told The Prague Post.
The unusual hours, between 7 p.m. And 1 a.m., as well as the display of Prague's cultural institutions in full regalia-with live demonstrations, special screenings and plenty of food and drink-set the event apart from a usual visit to the museum.
According to Havlíková, Prague Museum Night is one of the most well-attended events in the city. Involving dozens of participating institutions and a specially organized free transport system, it presents quite a feat of planning. Yet just days before the original scheduled date in June, havoc wreaked by weeks of bad weather forced the organizers to ask thousands of visitors for a rain check.
When: Saturday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.
Where: Central transport and info point: náměstí Jana Palacha
Tickets: Most events free
Understandably, this presented a few logistical issues. "Of course, canceling such a big event is not easy (39 institutions with 69 buildings were to participate), the tens of thousands of visitors were planning their visits. We used all possible communication channels to inform visitors," Havlíková said. Despite the practical challenges, a collaboration between the National Museum, the Prague Public Transport Company, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, Prague City Hall and the participating institutions has allowed the event to successfully be rescheduled for Sept. 14, with the usual wide range of offerings.
"We are very happy that in that very important year of its existence, we succeeded to manage the flood situation well and prepared the event on a new date," Havlíková said. The event's website lists 38 institutions taking part. New additions this year are the Emilie Palickova Gallery, Faculty of Architecture - Czech Technical University (ČTU) in Prague, Karel Zeman Museum, Ponrepo Cinema, Train Depot Zlíchov and the Václav Havel Library.
While each visitor will have unique preferences for which museums to visit, Havlíková noted that likely to be popular are the National Technical Museum, Aviation Museum Kbely and Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures. Events, many of them labeled as child friendly, are also scheduled at many of the institutions, taking place throughout the night. These include, for example, a screening of a documentary (in English) about visionary 20th century architecture at the ČTU, a mosaic workshop at the National Technical Museum, an exhibition of historical sound recording technologies at the National Museum, a fingerprinting and forensics demonstrations at the Museum of Czech Police, and "making models of World War II fighter planes, tanks and army vehicles" at The National Pedagogical Museum and Library of J. A. Comenius.
Various musical performances as well as food and drink offerings, will also be part of the Museum Night events. The Prague Museum Night Afterparty will take place at 11p.m. at contemporary art gallery and theater MeetFactory and will feature live performances and DJs. As in past years the event website offers the useful "My Night" itinerary planning tool for visitors. With this tool, visitors can mark the institutions and events they are interested in attending, and the application will produce a list in chronological order.
An information tent set up in front of the National Museum a day before the event will also help visitors plan their evening. To move between museums, special free bus lines from the Prague Public Transport Company have been arranged, with the central transport point being náměstí Jana Palacha, next to the Rudolfinum and near the Staroměstská metro station on the A line, where an information tent will also be set up. Besides starting to plan their itinerary, interested attendees might want to also start keeping their fingers crossed for clear skies.
Jennifer Day can be reached at
Tags: museums, public art, National Museum, City Hall.