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Národní Technické Muzeum

The National Technical Museum has a status of the central science and technology museum of the Czech Republic and a scientific institution with documentation, presentation, methodological, and information functions. The basis of its activities are the collections that have been created as the nation's memory. They amount about 58,000 filing items (comprising several times as high the number of individual objects), majority of them being stored in depositories on about 13,000 m2 because 15% only of the collection objects are shown in permanent exhibitions. The collections include such unique objects as astronomical instruments from the 16th century used by Tycho Brahe, the first Czechoslovak car, some of the oldest daguerrotypies in the world and many other unique items. The scope of collections and difficulties associated with the care of them can be documented by about 100 railway vehicles owned and partially operated by the National Technical Museum. The collections also encompass a large archive of history of technology and industry including 3,500 running metres of archival items and the library with about 250,000 books. The collections, archival items and and book funds are not only presented to the public on permanent and temporary exhibitions but also through educational and professional programmes; the publication activity of the Museum is oriented in this direction.

The Media Library of the Museum has been established that makes it possible to study written, audio and video sources on traditional as well as most up-to-date digital multimedia.
The status of the National Technical Museum implies also its liabilities with respect to the future. This relates not only to short-time planning of the Museum activities within one or several years but also to establishing a strategy of the institution with the outlook to 10 to 50 years. Here, it is necessary to join the philosophical disputations on heading of the society, the discussions evoked by the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, the entry to the new millennium of the human mankind history. As it has been shown by current disputations, the mankind expects not only technical but also spiritual changes, the changes that would bring not only material but also spiritual satisfaction of our needs, that would bring back the spiritual integrity of man. Within this framework, the National Technical Museum reveals its activities already today: through creating bridges between two cultural paths, between science and technology on one hand and art on the other. This is facilitated by creating a special gallery for presentation of tech-art: computer graphics, video-art, multimedia presentations, kinetic art, as well as the directions and tendencies associated with material technologies, such as paper art, textile art, etc. The exhibition programme of the Museum also tenaciously supports presentation of photographic art, a significant attention is paid to architectonic exhibitions. A direct connection of technology and fine arts is design; here, after establishing the collection department and arranging the exhibition of industrial design, we will continue in introducing the evolution of the Czech design art: after three exhibitions (the first one determined the period 1900 - 1940, the second one 1940 - 1960 and the third one was devoted to the works from 1960-1980). Moreover, actual trends in design will be presented and distinguished Czech and foreign designers will be introduced in separate exhibitions.

Major part of disputations on the mankind future is oriented on reasoning on development of information systems of the global network type associated with general digitalization of data. Here, it should be stressed that the National Technical Museum does not conceive this trend as an objective for itself but as a tool for elaborating and improving its activities, beginning with care of the collections (creation of a valid complex computer database of collections, including video records of unique items), via presentation activity (multimedial inputs and outputs on exhibitions, collective presentation of the National Technical Museum on Internet) to editorial outputs (the Museum's own video records and CD-ROMs, including not only scientific studies and catalogues but also accompanying materials of exhibitions). New media and technique are finding their assertion in the National Technical Museum even today. However, the enhanced vision associated with the future is creation of the Museum of 4th generation: an interactive continuous field of the cultural history where a Museum visitor can, through "cyber-space" including virtual reality, transit from real exhibits to the view of the society and the live style of particular period.

In the near future, the National Technical Museum shall face more concrete and more prosaic tasks. In the care of collections, it is necessary to complete the inspection of the whole collection fund, of a particular importance is preparation and accomplishment of the design of construction of the central depository. In the field of scientific activities, works will proceed in elaborating, preparing and issuing the collection catalogues. An important task for the years to come will also be finnishing and issuing of the Studies in technology in Czech lands 1945 - 1992. These works should also become a base for systematic acquisition policy of the Museum; here we count upon collaboration and coordination with universities and Czech industry, the Partners' Club should also be helpful. The orientation of presentation activities has already been discussed; the nearest and for the Museum very important task is the opening of the new Railwas Museum, what was officially founded by the Government of the Czech Republic in January 2001 as a part of the National Technical Museum. We are just now thinking about the Museum of Architecture as well and about the synthetic exhibition World of technology - both of the should be realized - hopefully - in a further future. Here, science and technology should be presented as a continuous way of adventure of cognition from the invention of wheel to, let say, the design of space shuttle, in the integrity and linkage to metamorphoses of the whole society. A long-time schedule of the project is caused not only by an obvious professional and financial challenge but also the fact that realization of the exhibition is connected with building of a new pavillon in the neighbourhood of the stone building at Letna. All the above mentioned projects, including the already commenced contemplations on the central depository and the new building of the Museum, should help the National Technical Museum in keeping its position as a central institution also in the future and in fulfilling its commission: the care of cultural heredity of the nation in the field of science and technology.

Key Persons of NTM:

PhDr. Jitka Zamrzlova
Head of Department of foreign and public relations

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