About Communism Museum – Prague
The Communism Museum (Muzeum Komunismu) of Prague showcases the history of what was Czechoslovakia – particularly Prague – under the communist regime from 1948 to 1989. From everyday life and sports to the media, education, the army and the justice system, the Communism Museum looks at every aspect of totalitarian life.
Communism Museum – Prague history
Following the World War Two, Czechoslovakia mostly returned to its pre-war territories. In 1948, the Communist Party seized power after gaining a lead in the 1946 elections. With the exception of the Prague Spring in 1968, when reformer Alexander Dubček headed the Czech Communist Party, Czechoslovakia had no liberal democracy; discontent was squashed by police and army units.
The 1970s saw increased dissidence in Czechoslovakia, represented by Václav Havel, seeking greater political participation and expression. In 1989, the Velvet Revolution peacefully restored democracy through student demonstrations in Prague. The protestor numbers grew until the entire Communist Party leadership resigned on 24 November. The collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia occurred simultaneously with the fall of communist regimes across Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary.
The Communism Museum in Prague was founded by Glenn Spicker, an American businessman and former politics student. Spicker spent $28,000 buying over a thousand artefacts and commissioned a documentary filmmaker Jan Kaplan, who had himself fled Czechoslovakia in 1969, to design the museum’s exhibitions. Kaplan’s vision for the museum was to create a three-act ‘tragedy’ in the displays, depicting the ideals of communism, the reality of poor life under the regime, and the nightmare of state terror.
Communism Museum – Prague today
The museum today provides visitors with an atmosphere of the era, aided by an interactive walk through mock-ups of daily life, including a school classroom, a child’s bedroom, a workshop and an interrogation room. The material is accessible: divided into themes, 62 panels describe with photographs what life was like under Communism.
The museum focuses on the period of totalitarianism in Czechoslovakia, stemming from the February putsch in 1948 to the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The temporary exhibition, Moments of the Velvet Revolution, is a collaboration with the Czech Press Agency (ČTK).
Getting to the Communism Museum – Prague
The museum is located in the center of Prague in the Old Customs House (Stará Celnice), V Celnici 1031/4, Prague 1. The entrance to the museum faces the Square of the Republic (náměstí Republiky) between Billa supermarket and Kolkovna restaurant.
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