Technical Museum in Brno - Rebirth of a Museum

Richard Matl

architect Ondrej Merta, curator

Technical Museum in Brno

Purkynova 105, 612 00 Brno Czech Republic

www.technicalmuseum.cz

The independent Technical Museum came into existence when the Study and Documentation Department of the National Technical Museum became independent on 1 January 1961. The Museum was located in the former convent of the Ursuline Order in the historical centre of the city of Brno, together with most of its exhibitions. A fundamental change for the existence of the Technical Museum came with the enactment of the Church Property Restitution Act whereby the Museum had to give up its main facility with exhibitions, library with 40 thousand volumes, workshops, laboratories, experimental foundry, and these had to be moved to other facilities in five different locations. This situation was resolved thanks to a generous support from the Czech Ministry of Culture which helped the Museum to obtain one of the structures of the former Tesla Company in the Brno district of Kraacute;lovo Pole.

In 1996 and 1997, the Museum's management launched the Rescue and Reconstruction Programme, which included the reconstruction and refurbishment of the main building and the building of museum exhibitions. The reconstruction of the building and construction work on its annexes was performed by the Unistav Comp. after the design of Ateliery TM Studio. The authors of the architectural design of the new exhibitions were the architects Radko Kvet and Richard Matl from the Radko Kvet Studio, while their graphic and scenographic design and the setting-up of the exhibitions were the responsibility of the ULMA Atelier.

The first part of the originally planned exhibitions was opened to public on 5 June 2003. It included exhibitions of water and steam engines, automobile transport, ferrous metallurgy and foundry work, knife making, musical automatophones, communication technologies, history of the blind, and an exhibition of crafts and trades situated to a street at a city periphery in the 1930s. Designed to complement school education, the Experimentarium is a place where children can learn about basic laws of physics in a playful manner.

In 2003, the Technical Museum in Brno won the Gloria Musaealis Award from the Czech Association of Museums and Galleries in the Museum Exhibition category for creating new permanent exhibitions and opening them to public. Plans for the next stage of the Museum development include the completion of exhibitions on the optics, computer technologies and weaponry.

The Museum also has the national Methodological Conservation Centre. The project, approved and supported by the Czech Ministry of Culture, assumes a close cooperation between the Centre and research and application laboratories at universities. The Centre was established in order to help resolve consequences of floods, and to train conservationists specializing in the preservation of cultural heritage with the use of all techniques available.

The Technical Museum in Brno has carried out a reconstruction of several important historic engineering sites dotting the territory of the South Moravian region, and now it operates them and uses them for museum-related purposes:

Depository of public transit systems open to public, Brno-Lisen

A converted suburban railway station housing the depository of public transit system vehicles, including 100 trams,trolleybuses and buses, some of which are roadworthy.

Old ironworks near Adamov

A preserved ironworks site founded in the mid 18th century features remains of a charcoal blast furnace and a building of a former pattern shop now housing a ferrous metallurgy exhibition.

Water Mill at Slupi

Late-Renaissance mill with four different types of milling technologies on display and an exhibition on milling technologies development.

Wind Mill in Kuzelov

The wind mill built in 1842 is still equipped with the original grinding equipment. Also on display are examples of sustenance agriculture and rural housing.

Smithery in Tesany

A typical rural smithery built in the early 18th century. The structure also houses a wheelwrighting exhibition and an example of living quarters of a village smith.

Infantry block MJ-S 3 Zahrada in Satov

The bunker was built in 1938 to defend the country against Germany and used by the Czechoslovak army until 1999.

Slakhamr, Hamry nad Sazavou (Vysocina Region)

An ironworks hammer mill currently undergoing reconstruction features a pair of water-wheels driving the tilt hammer and other equipment.