Office of the Presiden of the Republic and Prague Castle Administration
Adaptation of Old Royal Palace, Permanent exposition
A ´Castle Museum´ is an original idea brought up by the first Czech president T.G. Masaryk. However, Václav Havel was the one who gave the final impetus to put this idea into effect. The permanent exhibition named ´Story of Prague Castle´ arranged in one of the most valuable historic building in this complex – the Old Royal Palace – was eventually opened in 2004, after Havel’s presidential term of office had been over. It is a unique display of Castle collections until today enjoying a high visitor rate.
We based the exposition design concept on the following premises: - the installation has to be thoroughful to the Old Royal Palace rooms that are exhibition items themselves and they must not be strained by a multitude of exhibited material – an inseparable part is also the “Story of walls and plasters”… - the extent of the exhibition and its overall engagement is so broad that it needs to be structured in sub-sections more easily laid hold on – also by other means than just a simple arrangement of the installation in a single entity based on the time axis principle. The effort was to make the exhibition as attractive as possible – emphasized was working with computers (interactive programme on a contact TV screen), audio-visual technology (large-size screens, musical accompaniment) and independent project of a children programme. The centre point of the Programme, its spine is the “blue route”. Its contents following the logic of pursuing a time axis is divided in eleven stages. It should fulfil the function of a concentrated excursion of the most important historical items of the castle collections. The main sightseeing route runs through unique spaces providing unusual experience on their own. Construction development of the Prague Castle is documented by the castle area model and 3D visualisations of the stages. On the main axis “hang” closed circuits – stories (“yellow routes”) that more intensively address the selected topics. As far as the architectural qualities are concerned, rooms in which are located the circuits are not that important compared with the main route and so they allow to present more items and information. This concept of partial, well separable circuits allows replacing the themes for some others, more up-to-date ones without any problem at the same time, or their completion. Topics of the sub-circuits are for example the story of Czech patrons, burying, churches and cathedrals, residences, etc.