Museum on Totalitarian Years to Open This Summer

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Prague Morning

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Prague City Hall wants to establish a non-profit institution this summer, which will organize an exhibition on the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Letna, and at the same time, it will become the nucleus of a future museum focused on the history of totalitarian regimes in Czechoslovakia.

"We assess the advantages and disadvantages with the aim to choose the most suitable place," said Hana Marvanová (STAN) on the search for a permanent location. 

Čeněk Pýcha from The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR) considers the former background of Stalin's statue as an interesting choice for symbolic reasons. “But I can not confirm whether the location is ideal. In general, it is definitely a good idea to place such institutions in places accessible to the public, as close to public transport as possible," pointed out Pýcha.

While most of the capital’s inhabitants are easily able to point out where the statue used to stand, fewer are aware that it was accompanied by a large museum built into the hill directly below. 

The demolition of the memorial in 1962 left the museum’s spaces in poor condition and sealed off to the public. 

Other options include Clam-Gallas Palace in the Old Town and Borůvka Sanatorium in  Prague 2. But this is not owned by Prague City and would require more expensive reconstruction. The councillor also pointed out that the list of selected sites is not yet closed.

“From my point of view, the planned institution should have temporary exhibitions in addition to some permanent exhibitions, as well as public debates on modern history, which are an integral part of their remembrance. And occasional exhibitions may not only be about persecution but also other contexts,” historian Čeněk Pýcha outlined the possible concept of the upcoming museum.

The future museum, according to Ms. Marvanová, should devote equal space to both dictatorships of the 20th-century Czech history. As a former dissident, the current councillor personally felt the persecution of the communist regime. 

Author: Lilato Madiri


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