Best museums in Prague
What is it? A collection of places in Prague’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov) with bittersweet roots. These long-standing synagogues and cobblestoned streets were spared the destruction common throughout Central Europe because the Nazis intended to preserve the area as a “museum of an extinguished race”.
Why go? To remember the history. Wander through the 12,000 gravestones crammed into the Old Jewish Cemetery and spend a somber afternoon observing the engraved names and children’s drawings of the Holocaust memorial located inside the Pinkas Synagogue.
What is it? A visually stunning Baroque Theological Hall, Classical Philosophical Hall, and Cabinet of Curiosities that make up part of the Strahov Monastery. This small display of beautiful things is conveniently located near the Prague Castle and the Strahov Monastery Brewery.
Why go? To photograph the two halls, which regularly make their way onto lists of the world’s most beautiful libraries.
What is it? An overview of the life and work of Czech painter Alphonse Mucha. The collection includes theatrical posters that established his reputation in Paris alongside the more politically charged work that brought him back to (then) Czechoslovakia.
Why go? To admire this beloved Czech artist whose talent for curved lines and expressive women helped define the Art Nouveau movement. The gift shop is also a great stop for postcard-to-poster-sized souvenirs.
What is it? A multi-century look at Czech life housed inside a Baroque bell tower. Exhibits include the daily life of an 18th-century tower warden, the 1945 resistance near the end of WWII, and a holographic re-enactment of spy activities housed here in the 1960s through 1980s.
Why go? For the combo of interactive history and 360-degree views, both outdoors at the gallery level and from the spy windows of the top floor.
What is it? A memorial to the Czech soldiers who assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, one of Hitler’s right-hand men. Displays include profiles of the men involved, entry to the church basement where they hid from authorities after the attack, and bullet holes in the walls from the final standoff.
Why go? This story of bravery and resistance from everyday heroes under an oppressive regime is inspirational, and recently caught Hollywood’s attention–watch Anthropoid (2016) before visiting.
What is it? A collection of artifacts, propaganda, and multimedia exhibits that gives visitors a glimpse into Czechoslovak life under Communist rule from 1948 to 1989.
Why go? A recent move to the Náměstí Republiky area reduced the ability to joke about the museum’s previous location (between a casino and McDonald’s), but it also increased the size and organization of this virtual trip back in time.
What is it? A dark, brooding tribute to the famously strange Czech writer. The exhibits are divided into an “Existential Space” focused on the author himself and an “Imaginary Topography” that explores the possible meanings and potential locations in Prague of some unnamed places in his works.
Why go? Even if you don’t step foot inside the museum, stop by the courtyard to see David Černy’s infamous sculpture of two men pissing into a pool shaped like the Czech Republic.
What is it? An elegant arrangement of historic and contemporary crafts ranging from glass and porcelain to jewelry, clocks, and toys. The permanent collection gets an international boost from exhibiting partners like the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Germany’s International Museum of Ceramics.
Why go? Renovations completed in late 2017 have expanded the space and polished the surroundings of this tribute to art and design.
What is it? A modern look at farming, forestry, fishing, food, and all things outdoors with a collection 100 years in the making—the museum celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2018.
Why go? Agriculture may not have the most exciting reputation, but the interactive, family-friendly activities make this a great choice when traveling with children.
What is it? The largest private collection of Apple products organised into an endearing tribute to Steve Jobs. Opened just off Old Town Square in 2015, it houses desktops, iPads, iPods, and iPhones from 1976 to 2012 plus a detailed history of the founder’s path from college dropout to CEO of Pixar and Apple.
Why go? For die-hard Apple fans to enjoy the nostalgia of seeing early generation technology that now rules our lives. The pop art gallery of celebrity portraits in the basement is also worth a visit.