The Prague Museum Night 2014 event is happening this Saturday June 14 from 7pm to 1am. Now in its 11th year, 39 museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions are taking part. While this night sure feels like the freebie of all freebies, it can also be overwhelming, even for a dedicated museum bomber like me. I asked the National Museum’s Ivana Kocichová, also the coordinator of this year’s event, for suggestions on how to make the most of it.
To just wander out and see what you see can be a disappointment if you really want to check out any specific places. The Museum Night website offers a ‘my museums’ section in which you can plot out your own game plan for the evening.
“If you want to catch as much as possible, plan ahead and pick up the traffic map on Friday the 13th between noon and 7pm at the information tent in front of the historical building of the National Museum,” Kocichová said. Which means…
2. Plot Your Route
Plotting your route is just as important as choosing your museums, especially if your top visits are scattered around town.
There will be special Museum Night buses running from 7:30pm-1:15am. Eleven lines will be circling the city, bringing people to each of the participating institutions free of charge. The central changing point is náměstí Jana Palacha and you can download pdf timetables for each of the lines on the website.
3. Choose for program not popularity
Be sure to check out each institution’s happenings. There’s a link for each one on the ‘Institutions’ page detailing what’ll be on. Live music, workshops, and guided tours are offered at the majority of the museums, while some have gotten a bit more creative like the art barbecue at Futura Gallery and a screening of Karel Zeman’s film The Stolen Airship at the Karel Zeman Museum.
“I would definitely look into the Faculty of Science, Charles University at Albertov, where the Mineralogical Museum and the Museum of Earth History are located, and the Botanical Gardens there; the programs of the Faculty are traditionally very interesting,” Kocichová said. “Also, a visit to the Hvězda Summer Palace, where a visit to this beautiful Renaissance building is connected with a pleasant evening walk. I always opt for those special museums where there is a really great atmosphere.”
4. Don’t overindulge!
It’s tough not to look at Museum Night as some sort of fabulous buffet of city-wide free culture that you must consume. Kocichová says past experience shows most people visit three sites, though there are some who do more, and some who just go check out a specific one.
5. Get an early start
Kocichová recommends an earlier start. “As the night gets underway, visitors can modify their plans and specific visits and maybe break them up with a café stop.”
6. Hit up the lesser-knowns
The biggies of Prague’s cultural institutions (and the more pricey ones) are of course going to be the most crowded. Kocichová says individual choice depends on the tastes of each visitor, but does have a few recommendations for places that might be more comfortable.
“Among the traditionally not-as-visited museums are the Aviation Museum Kbely (part of the Military History Institute Prague), the National Technical Museum, the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures (part of the National Museum), Prague City Museum, and the Museum of Czech Police, for example,” she said.
7. Let the museum spirit move you
Then again, if you are a free spirit, there’s no problem with just going out and enjoying the evening.
“Get on the bus, get off when you’re ready and go with the other visitors,” Kocichová said. “Perhaps you’ll discover a museum that you have not yet visited, and it will enchant you.”