AMoYA- Artbanka Museum of Young Art
This museum was founded in 2011 and highlights the country’s creative young minds. Housed in the Baroque Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace in Old Town and directly across from the Charles Bridge Tower, this museum is receiving praise for elegantly marrying the old with the new.
DOX Contemporary Art
This innovative modern art venue celebrates contemporary movements, both Czech and international. Its mission statement explains, “DOX is a place where the tyranny of the experts is thrown into doubt… DOX is a place where the unpredictability of art is a value which facilitates unexpected benefits.” Founded in 2008, the institution examines the boundaries of modern art and is highly respected in the art world. For more exhibitions like this, check out the Trade Fair Palace (Dukelskych hrdinu 47; 420 224 301 111)
This deceivingly small museum, near the Kampa Museum and right on the river, examines the life and oeuvre of Franz Kaftka in a unique—and quite intellectual—manner. There’s lots to read, including original letters and journal pages, as well as video installations and many photographs, including ones of historic Prague. For kids studying Kafka in school, this is a great place to gain a deeper understanding of this tortured author, who regarded Prague both as an entrapment and an inspiration. The gift shop has his major works translated into every imaginable language.
This wonderfully restored former flour mill, dating from the 14th century, shows a superb collection of Czech modern art. Jan and Meda Mládek (he was born in Poland and she in Bohemia; they met in Paris and emigrated to Washington, D.C., in 1960) spent decades collecting the works of Central European artists. Jan died before the Velvet Revolution, but his wife donated the works to the city and oversaw the completion of the riverside museum. Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Adjacent to the museum is the beautiful Kampa Park, a lovely spot for a mid-day break during warm weather.
Says Karen Feldman, the owner of Artěl:
“Located within the Prague Castle complex, the Lobkowicz Palace houses a significant portion of what is one of the most important private collections in all of Central Europe. The paintings on view here rival those found in the world’s top-tier museums, and include Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s Haymaking, arguably the single most important painting in the Czech Republic. My favorite part of the exhibition, however, is the series of landscape paintings by Croll, which document, with Biedermeier clarity and informality, the Lobkowicz family’s many estates and the stunning Bohemian countryside of the 1840s. The family’s Music Archive is also quite impressive and features more than 4,000 scores, including original copies of Beethoven’s 4th and 5th Symphonies (complete with his own corrections), and a manuscript of Handel’s Messiah that was later revised and re-orchestrated by Mozart in a torrent of briskly inked annotations (the chutzpah!)
At least as impressive is the palace itself. Built in the mid-16th century and occupied by the family since that time, the palace was confiscated by the government in the 1940s, and the family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts. The fall of communism led to the passing of restitution laws in the early 1990s, which, in turn, led to the Lobkowicz family finally regaining ownership of many of their holdings throughout the Czech Republic, including the palace itself in 2002. The museum was opened to the public in April of 2007.
There is an excellent museum shop, as well as a restaurant that offers breathtaking views of the entire city. So ditch the hordes trampling the cobblestones of Prague castle, sneak beneath the archway of Jiřská 3, and spend some time absorbing Bohemian history in this unique setting. Don’t miss it.” Open daily.
Best known for his Art Nouveau posters of stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, Alphonse Mucha was born in Moravia but made a name for himself in Paris in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1910, he settled in Prague, where he designed everything from books to banknotes in his characteristic style until his death, in 1939. This small museum devoted to his works can be combined with a visit to his house, at Hradanske Square 6, which gives a sense of extravagant prewar life in Prague. Mucha’s daughter-in-law often leads the tours herself. _Open 10 a.m–6 p.m. Contact us to arrange tours of the house.
Museum of Decorative Arts
This imposing classical 1899 building on the edge of the Jewish Quarter houses an amazing collection of Meissen porcelain, Bohemian glassware, furniture, jewelry and decorative objects that showcase Bohemia’s great crafts tradition from the Renaissance to the 21st century. It’s filled with treasures and rarely crowded. Tip: From the women’s bathroom, you have an incredible first-floor view into the Jewish Cemetery. Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.
Narodni Gallery (National Gallery of Prague)
Like Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery in Prague is spread out over multiple buildings and each have a different focus. These include medieval art in the Convent of St. Agnes, a survey of art from ancient to 19th century at the Sternberg Palace, Old Masters in the Schwarzenberg Palace, 19th-century regional art in St. George’s Convent, art of Asia and the ancient Mediterranean in Kinský Palace (located in the Old Town Square), the Museum of Czech Cubism in the House of the Black Madonna, modern and contemporary art in Veletrzni Palace, the Riding School in the Wallenstein Palace, and Baroque art in Žd’ár nad Sázavou Castle.
Public Transport Museum
Says Karen Feldman, the owner of Artěl:
“This museum is a wonderful hands-on experience for young and old alike, featuring a wide selection of historic trams and buses, several of which you can even climb into and explore. The oldest is a horse-drawn tram that dates back to 1886. Located in an historic Prague tram depot built in 1909, the facility was used up until 1992. The museum provides a delightful window into Prague’s past. A number of unusual items are for sale by the ticket booth; my favorite find is a puzzle of the Prague Metro.” Cash only. Apr 3–Nov 11: Sat & Sun: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. (other times by appointment). Cash only.
Classical music aficionados should visit this tiny museum right on the river (near the Four Seasons) that has a small but excellent exhibit about Czech composer Bedricha Smetana. In a back corner, visitors can play different pieces of music by the composer who lost his hearing at the end of his life but continued writing operas, symphonies and chamber music. One of his most famous pieces is, of course, Vltava (The Moldau), which is particularly moving to listen to here, since the river itself is rushing by outside. The museum is hidden: take a right after crossing the Charles Bridge, then your first right into a small street leading to the river. The museum is on the first floor of a beautifully restored, former Waterworks building.
A Renaissance palace at the foot of the Prague Castle, it was built in 1630 for the Duke of Friedland, Albrecht Vaclav Eusebius of Wallenstein. The duke amassed a great fortune by marriage and raised massive armies for the emperor, who eventually grew suspicious of Wallenstein’s power and had him assassinated in 1634. Today, the palace is home to the Czech parliament, so it’s open to the public only on weekends. Its beautiful formal gardens, a must-see, are open daily in warm months. In the Main Hall, Mythological Corridor and St. Wenceslas Chapel are fabulous frescoes of the Trojan Wars by Baccio del Bianco. A duck pond, which kids love, sits within the gardens, and in summer, free concerts are held here. Palace open weekends only, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Gardens open April to October 10 a.m.–6 p.m.