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the story of prague castle

Permanent exposition in the Old Royal Palace

A ´Castle Museum´ is an original idea brought up by the first Czech president T.G. Masaryk. However, Václav Havel was the one who gave the final impetus to put this idea into effect. The permanent exhibition named ´Story of Prague Castle´ arranged in one of the most valuable historic building in this complex – the Old Royal Palace – was eventually opened in 2004, after Havel’s presidential term of office had been over. It is a unique display of Castle collections until today enjoying a high visitor rate. more

We based the exposition design concept on the following premises: - the installation has to be thoughtful to the Old Royal Palace rooms that are exhibition items themselves, and they must not be strained by a multitude of exhibited material – an inseparable part is also the ´Story of walls and plasters´. The extent of the exhibition and its overall engagement is so broad that it needs to be structured in sub-sections more easily laid hold on – also by other means than just a simple arrangement of the installation in a single entity based on the time axis principle. The effort was to make the exhibition as attractive as possible – emphasised was working with computers (interactive programme on a contact TV screen), audio-visual technology (large-size displays, musical accompaniment) and independent project of a children programme. The centre point of the Programme, its spine is the “blue route”. Its contents following the logic of pursuing a time axis is divided into eleven stages. It should fulfil the function of a concentrated excursion of the most important historical items of the Castle collections. The main sightseeing route runs through unique spaces providing unusual experience on their own. Construction development of the Prague Castle is documented by the castle area model and 3D visualisations of the stages. On the main axis “hang” closed circuits – stories (“yellow routes”) that more intensively address the selected topics. As far as the architectural qualities are concerned, rooms in which are located the circuits are not that important compared to the main route and so they allow to present more items and information. This concept of partial, well separable circuits allows replacing the themes for some others, more current ones without any problem at the same time, or their completion. Topics of the sub-circuits are for example the story of Czech patrons, burying, churches and cathedrals, residences, etc. The planned exhibition and its coverage were so broad that it needed to be structured in more easily manageable subsections. That means it had to be organised differently than just like one ensemble lined up along a time axis. We tried to make the exhibition as attractive as possible – we employed computers a lot (an interactive program on a touchscreen), audiovisual technology (large screens, audio accompaniment) and paid particular attention to the separate project of the programme for children. The ´blue route´ is a sort of a backbone, the focus of the Story. Its content resting in the logics of following the time axis is divided into eleven phases. It should function as a real tour of the most important historical items from the Castle collection. The main tour leads through unique spaces providing an exceptional experience of its right. The construction development of Prague Castle is documented on models of the whole complex and 3D visualisations of individual phases. Separate constrained exhibition circuits are ´clipped´ to the main axis – stories (´yellow routes´) even more intensely pursuing the selected topics. Rooms accommodating these sub-circuits are not that important as far as their architectural qualities are concerned as compared to the main route; therefore, they allow to present more items and information. This concept of easily separable sub-circuits makes it easy to replace presented topics for others, more up-to-date or add new exhibits. The themes presented in these sub-circuits are, for instance, the story of Czech patrons, undertaking, churches and cathedrals, residences, and others. The described structuring allows the visitor choose a route according to individual interests and tiredness, or divide the visit into several days. A phase of construction modifications of extremely protected spaces of the Old Royal Palace preceded the installation design development. We used only the combination of black or stainless steel and glass for items newly built in allowing to use the Palace for the exhibition (new floors, staircases, railing). This materialisation should let the visitors read these elements like an acknowledged inserted modern structural formation.

  • address Old Royal Palace
    Prague 1 - Prague Castle
  • year2004
  • investorSPH
  • design teamPetr Burian, Petr Malinský, Michal Pokorný
  • collaborationfalse
  • photographs/visualizationsFilip Šlapal
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