The East Bohemian Museum was designed by Jan Kotěra, a prominent Czech architect in 1909-1912. Kotěra's initial design, presented in 1907, was criticized for its exaggerated decoration and luxurious design. Moreover, the city did not have sufficient funds for such a grandiose design. Consequently, Kotěra created a new design that was finished in 1908.

The museum is modeled on a classic temple. As far as the decoration is concerned, the entrance is decorated by two sculptures next to the entrance door. These female figures are said to be an allegory of History and Industry. These two are accompanied by a third figure made from bronze. This one is supposed to be a young František Ulrich who became a mayor of Hradec Králové at the age of 36. Although he was young, people hoped that he would lead the city to progress.

Kotěra also designed the interior of the museum as well. Visitors can see furniture in the director’s office, a library, seats made by Thonet Company and wood linings in the lecture hall, lighting and a fountain in front of the main entrance to the museum. The museum interiors are designed in the functionalist style.

The building of the East Bohemia Museum was awaited with mixed feeling of the whole public. Kotěra was known as a young and progressive architect and he confirmed this statement in his works. The asymmetrical design of the building was rejected by Kotěra's teacher, Otto Wagner, but Kotěra prevailed.

In 1995 the building was declared as a national cultural monument and was extensively reconstructed in 1999-2002.



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Founded: 1909-1912
Category: Museums in Czech Republic

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User Reviews

Merine Paul (8 months ago)
Great experience
Mario Falzon (12 months ago)
Even by 21st-century standards, Jan Kotera’s creations still look fresh and unconventional, maybe avant-garde as well. Prazsky most, a century-old stone-and-steel bridge across the River Labe in Hradec Kralove bears witness to Kotera’s ability to get out of the norm and create innovative designs and out-of-the-ordinary constructions. A walk along the verdant east bank of the Labe where most of the buildings are Kotera’s creations is enough to confirm his taste for functionalism rather than heavy or elaborate ornamentation. One building that definitely gives credit for Kotera’s originality in design and use of materials is the Muzeum Vychodnich Cech, a grand building that in spite of its age still seems splendidly modern and utterly unconventional. Plastered concrete and red bricks, aptly combined to create lines of contrast were used to devise a facade that is not only original and innovative but functional and inspirational as well. The entrance is guarded by a giant pair of colourful doorkeepers, their legendary Sphinx-like faces obscure and mysterious. The huge dome crowning the roof, so typical of Kotera’s style of architecture transmits an air of grandeur to the structure. Kotera also designed the building’s interior. Unlike most other museums where an existing building is utilized as an exhibition centre, the Vychodnich Cech was intentionally built to house a museum of artifacts and natural sciences. So, the assistance of local painters (Jan Preisler, Josef Novak and Frantisek Kysela) and sculptors (Vojtech Suchard and others) was deemed crucial in the finishing stages. The museum’s best exhibits consist of a 19th-century assortment of local paintings and sculptures, a set of historical posters with a political innuendo dating back to the interwar years and three interactive models of Hradec Kralove that display the historical and architectural aspects of the city in the Middle Ages. Indeed, most exhibits are interesting enough to provide an insight into the country’s recent history and art scene but... alas, no descriptions in English accompany the exhibits.
Fritz Langmann (12 months ago)
Ian.H Foster (15 months ago)
nice stop to see the history of the town.
Ruud en Esther de Groot (2 years ago)
A beautiful museum about the history of Hradec Králové and it's surrounding. A pity nothing is in English.
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