Illusion Art Museum
At first glance you’ll think that the entry price for the Illusion Art Museum is a bit steep at CZK300 for an adult or CZK700 for a family but let me tell you, it’s worth it. Actually it’s more than worth it for several reasons which I’ll describe below. The pictures here are just a small percentage of the exhibits on display and I’ve not shown the more popular exhibits so you’ll get a surprise when you see them. But first some quick tips for visiting the Illusion Art Museum.
Five Tips for Visiting the Illusion Art Museum
1) Bring your phone. Even if kids have a basic smartphone they’ll get a better experience.
2) It’s not currently on the website but, they will have an app to download because certain exhibits have VR (Virtual Reality).
3) See if there is a box with glasses close to the exhibit. If yes then use them to view it.
4) Read the plaques. All exhibits have Czech and English description. It’s worth reading about the exhibits to understand how to interact with them and get a better experience.
5) Look at the floor and you’ll find specific places to stand and/or take photos to get the correct effect.
The building is right opposite the Old Town Hall and the name Illusion Art Museum is really spot on because it is laid out like an art museum over three floors and all of the art is illusory in some way.
Let’s start by saying that anybody who has visited any art museum lately will have experienced the “don’t touch” signs everywhere and barriers stopping you getting too close. NOT HERE! yes there are some exhibits that you can’t touch but I’d say more than 90% of the exhibits not only allow physical contact, they actually encourage you to interact. This “touchy/feely” aspect is unique in Prague at present so this is definitely a place for kids to have fun. You move between the floors using stairs or a lift. Each floor is divided into rooms and staff are available to assist you.
Right from the start I noticed an environmental sub-theme. Several of the exhibits have recycled what we would perceive as rubbish or scrap into clever artistic pieces. An example of this is below.
At first glance it’s rubbish being poured out of a dustbin. Look more closely and viewed from the correct angle it’s actually creating a picture by Vincent Van Gogh called “Wheat Field with Cypresses”. There’s also a fun historic theme as well hence why you should read the exhibit plaques. They don’t try to recreate all of the city’s history at the Illusion Art Museum but they cherry-pick certain famous events for tourists to learn about and Czechs to enjoy. The featured picture above shows an example of that i.e. a cannonball coming through a wall at Prague Castle.
Here’s an example of why you should bring the phone or camera. The picture below shows a face. But when you are looking at this exhibit in the museum you can’t see the face. I swear, all you see are hundreds or screwed up pages of magazines which have been painted. You can touch the exhibit and it feels like pressing a ball of paper. It’s only when you use the camera that you see the face.
I would point out that a person with one eye would only see the face (wouldn’t that be confusing). It’s got something to do with the fact that we see with both eyes whereas a camera only has one lens. Fascinating stuff and this is all in the FIRST room that you visit.
Basically you learn on the first floor. You learn to read the plaques first, you learn to watch out for the view points, when to use the camera, when to use the app etc and you apply this to all the exhibits.
There’s also a surprise bonus got thrown in. You see, the Illusion Art Museum is located right opposite the Astronomical Clock. Just before the hour strikes, the staff on each floor call people over to the windows at the front of the building to see the Astronomical Clock procession. The view is below.
We enjoyed the Illusion Art Museum. It was thoroughly fun and interesting for myself, my wife and two teenage kids. I think that you could easily spend two hours here. Well recommended.