About the Museum of the Brno Region
About the Museum of the Brno Region
The region around the city of Brno is marked by natural, landscape, social and cultural diversity. This is also reflected in the activities and initiatives of the Museum of the Brno Region. It was established in the 1960s, then as the Brno-Country District Museum, by merging several institutions independent until then, today branches of the Museum of the Brno Region. These include the Podhorácké museum, Předklášteří, (founded in 1929) to the northwest of Brno, Šlapanice Museum (founded in 1934) to the southeast of Brno, the “Cairn of Peace“ Memorial (completed just before the outbreak of WW I, handed over to the public in 1923) at the centre of the former Slavkov battlefield, Ivančice Museum to the southeast of the Moravian capital (opened in 1894) and finally the Museum of literature in Moravia. The latter, seated in the Rajhrad Benedictine Monastery to the south of Brno, has been in operation since 2005.
The oldest branch of the Brno Regional Museum is Ivančice Museum. Its foundation actually originated in connection with a massive fund-raising activity within the preparation of an Ethnographic Czech-Slavonic Exhibition held in Prague in 1895. The Museum’s collections include large wholes of archaeological artefacts illuminating the history of the town, like those belonging to the former Moravian Church in Ivančice or a valuable collection of tin dishes, pottery, a collection of weapons and collection artefacts relating to the older as well as later history of the town. The museum also houses a collection presenting the life and work of a well-known Ivančice native, painter Alfons Mucha. The museum collections are stored in the Rajhrad monastery, exhibitions organized by Ivančice Museum are held in the gallery of the Alfons Mucha Memorial in Ivančice.
The Podhorácké museum is located in a very small, though widely known municipality of Předklášteří which owes its fame to Porta coeli (Heaven’s Gate), the Cistercian convent founded in 1232 by Queen Constance. In the middle of the 1950s the Podhorácké museum moved to the Convent precincts from the nearby city of Tišnov. In 2010, the Convent was declared National Cultural Monument. Similarly as with Ivančice Museum, the foundation of the Podhorácké Museum, too, was first attempted in connection with the ethnographic exhibition in Prague. Formally it was founded in 1929 and started to build its collections in a methodical and ongoing manner. The core of the collections originates from the 1950s and 1960s. Unique is the extensive collection of minerals, rich are also the collections showing household furnishings of mainly middle-class homes in the Podhorácký region, objects relating to trade and handicrafts as well as evidence of life in the spheres of business, art and education, including folk culture at the Highland foothills.
The town of Šlapanice, where another branch of the Brno Regional Museum has its seat, is practically within sight of the city of Brno. It is the centre of an area to the southeast of the Moravian capital, whose remarkable past goes back to prehistoric times – large burial grounds were explored here from as far back as the Later Stone Age and the Early Bronze Age, more recently a burial site from the Migration Period at the nearby Žuráň Hill. Šlapanice Museum only keeps a small part of archaeological finds from the mentioned prehistoric burial places, much larger is its collection of ethnographic artefacts and the material culture evidence of past generations in the area to the east of Brno. A separate section is formed by the collection of Šlapanice native, painter Alois Kalvoda. In its exhibition activities, the Museum consistently focuses on preparation of accompanying programmes for children and closely cooperates with schools.
The Museum of the Brno Region also operates two outstanding monuments. The dominant feature of the Austerlitz battlefield is the Cairn of Peace Monument, built from the initiative of Father Alois Slovák from 1910 – 1914 to honour victims of wars. An unparalleled concept of its time and the first war memorial with a peace mission ever built. Today it is a cultural monument. Adjoining the Cairn of Peace, a modest exposition on the Austerlitz battle was opened in 1925. The collections of the memorial to victims of the “Battle of The Three Emperors" (2 December 1805), though rather small (their volume and quality were affected, among other adverse influences, by several unhappy reorganizations more than fifty years ago), have been rapidly growing in recent years. On the Bicentenary of the Battle an innovative multimedia exhibition was opened in the Monument’s museum, which attracts a permanent interest of visitors from all over the world.
In 2005 a new location started its activities within the Brno Regional Museum – Museum of literature in Moravia. Within the ancient walls of the Rajhrad Monastery, declared a cultural heritage, the history of the proverbial Benedictine wisdom meets and blends with the older and present-time literature originating in Moravia. Literature, old literary documents, have always been inseparable from the Rajhrad history and the Museum of literature in Moravia continues this tradition. In addition to its regular exhibition activities the museum keeps extending its collection of literary works relating to Moravian history and geography, which also includes visual artefacts associated with book production. A close communication with children and youth has been provided for several years now by a literary competition called ´The Hidden Memory of Moravia´ and its complementary programme, a workshop of creative writing named ´Taming of the Literary Muse´. Over the short period of its operation, the literary museum has established a firm position in the spiritual life of Moravia and become a destination of those interested in its cultural wealth.
The Museum of the Brno Region is a member of the Association of Czech and Moravian-Silesian Museums and Galleries and of the Czech Committee of ICOM (international organization of museums). While fulfilling its mission, the Museum predominantly focuses on creating and expanding its collections, acquisition of further evidence of the historical and (to a lesser degree) natural development of the region and care of the rich collections created as a result of indefatigable effort of several generations of museum workers. And of course on the presentation of collection objects as well as results of the studies of its specialist workers - and their use in events organized for adult and youth visitors. As a very meaningful effort must be mentioned continuous cooperation between the Museum and schools. The long-term research tasks of specialist workers include the documentation of certain aspects of the region’s past, whether at its centres or outside of them. Research results are presented at exhibitions and in other forms such as articles published in the specialist journals as well as general press, at lectures, discussions, “children’s workshops“ and the like.
The Brno Regional Museum endeavours to fulfil its mission in all the respects. At each branch location a specialist worker is employed as a historian specializing in the relevant place and region; with the exception of Ivančice this person is at the same time an administrator of a branch depository. Two ethnologists, an art historian and archaeologist are available for the whole Brno region. At present the Museum has 49 full-time employees, of them 18 specialist workers, 14 guides, 5 technical-economic workers and 12 employees in manual professions.