Museum of Decorative Arts
The Museum of Decorative Arts is currently made up of four different locations, three of which are in Prague. On this post I’ll describe the main building at the address “17 listopadu 2”. If you have an interest in design then the Museum of Decorative Arts should be in your top 3 places to visit in Prague. Or you just keep the main building in reserve for a day where it may be too cold, too hot or too wet etc and you want a place to get out of it for a couple of hours. Here’s what to expect.
Tickets and Getting Into the Museum of Decorative Arts Main Building
Many guides still list the entry as being at the top of the steps opposite the Rudolfinum. Fortunately the building owners installed a sign which points you back to the “garden” entry where you find the info point, shop and cafe. It’s closed on Monday.
Second door on the left is the ticket office and shop. The main permanent exhibition is called “Art, Life” and at the time of writing was CZK250 for an adult or CZK120 with concession. There may be additional temporary exhibitions that you can see for extra cost.
Using the Lockers
In the corridor on the right after the ticket office is the toilet and the cloakroom. You may feel more comfortable dropping bags/jackets etc before exploring the building. At the time of writing just bring a CZK5 or 1 Euro coin. Lock the door of your cloakroom locker and when you return simply unlock to retrieve your money.
What Happens Next?
If you are going to see the permanent collection then next is that you ascend the beautiful neo-Renaissance staircase (pictured) up to the first floor. There should be a museum assistant who will validate your ticket and instructs you to walk into one of the side chambers. In the case of visiting temporary exhibitions you’ll be directed to the appropriate entry i.e. the top floor is normally for temporary exhibitions and the upper part of the staircase is pictured above.
What is Interesting at the Museum of Decorative Arts?
For a start, it’s NOT a gallery so don’t expect a display of pictures although the building is beautifully decorated. It has a collection of decorative and applied arts using ceramics, metal, wood, glass, textiles and plastic. It focuses on Czech design because it hosts the National Design Collection which contains examples of clothing, furniture and decorations etc that were designed in this country going back hundreds of years. It also has a library which is the largest repository of Arts and Architecture publications in the country. There is a cafe/restaurant in the building but to be honest, I just use it as a cafe.
Like I said earlier. If you just want to see inside one of Prague’s grandest neo-Renaissance buildings then buy a ticket (the architect was a man called Josef Schulz who also designed the National Museum). It was by no means the first of it’s kind and was inspired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1852), the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts (1864) and the Museum of Applied Arts in Brno (1873). Funds were set aside by the State although a lot of the interior decoration was sponsored by private individuals. From breaking ground to the opening of the new building took less than 4 years (1897-1900).