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National Museum celebrates 200th anniversary

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Prague, April 12 (CTK) – The new exhibitions in the historical building of the National Museum (NM) will have additional exhibition space as well as technological equipment allowing to expand the present range of exhibits, NM director Michal Lukes told CTK on Thursday on the occasion of the museum’s 200th anniversary.

The anniversary of NM’s foundation is due on April 15.

This weekend, the NM will make its exhibitions accessible to the public for free, as well as its depositories in Prague’s Horni Pocernice district and in Terezin.

Once the currently ongoing reconstruction of the museum’s historical building is finished in a few years, some of the most attractive exhibits, which are now stored in the depositories, will be displayed, Lukes said.

“Before the reconstruction, we were displaying less than 1.5 percent of our collections, now we will be displaying about three percent of the most interesting items, Lukes said.

“The NM has about 20 million items. Not all of them are meant to be exhibited, as they are primarily scientific resources,” he said.

The historical building, situated at the top of the Wenceslas Square, will not be hosting any depositories and only contain exhibits.

According to Lukes, it will open for trial operation on October 28, the date when the country celebrates its centenary, with a large Czechoslovak exhibition, which will be preceded with various events focusing on the fields of NM’s collections, including music, history and ethnography.

The next exhibition in the historical building to be hosted by the NM is called “200 years – 200 items.” It will display 200 of the most interesting items and also feature the stories of their acquisition.

The third display that is planned will be devoted to the historical building itself and its reconstruction, which is to add some 16,000 square metres of well-equipped exhibition space, Lukes said.

One of the first exhibitions that is to capitalise on the new facilities the museum is to have after the reconstruction is an ancient Egyptian exhibition that is to be borrowed from Egypt. It will document the work of the Czech Institute of Egyptology, which has been conducting excavations in the region for decades. According to Lukes, the museum is to borrow a unique set of objects from the finds of Czech Egyptologists as well as objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

“We are debating a government resolution that would help us fund this,” Lukes said.

Lukes also mentioned the museum was negotiating with Russia on a possible loan of an entire mammooth skeleton as the NM only had parts of such skeletons or their models.

The museum is to open all of its exhibitions in the historical building by 2020.

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