My students made a point of telling me about every event going on in the city. They had this desire to integrate me into the Czech culture. I think they feel good when Americans show interest in them. The Czech Republic being such a small country, it’s easy for it to get forgotten in the vastness of Europe. It was hard for me to adjust to the fact that my culture is seen as being the dominating, almost crushing, force in their world. Most times it made me feel rather embarrassed. Rarely was I proud. But that’s besides the point. The point is that one of the events my students made me aware of was Museum night. It’s mid-June every year, which is the reason I thought of it. Museum night for this year is coming up.
Museum night is the one night a year when all the museums around Prague open their doors to the public all night long for free. I realize that this sounds like a rather lame way to spend a Saturday night, but it actually turned out to be really fun. Some of the other teachers and I met our students at the Museum of Communism and start our adventure. By the time 2 AM rolled around we had about four museums under our belts and called it a night. I was really glad I’d saved all my museum visiting until the end. My wallet was glad too. The admission fees at those museums can be pretty steep when they add up.
In addition to getting free admission into the museums, it was a great way to learn more about the city I’d called home for nine months. We went to several art museums, but for the most part we stuck to the historical ones. Those are my favorites. We saw galleries full of Nazi and Communist paraphernalia in the Museum of Military History and. There were also galleries full of some much older artifacts like fossils and things that had been uncovered in various archaeological digs. The one place we didn’t get to go that I’d really wanted to see was the Jewish Museum. I kept telling myself I’d go back another day, but I never did. I guess that just means I’ll have to make another trip out to Prague just for that.
If you’re planning a trip into Prague this summer, see if you can synchronize your visit with June 14th, which is this year’s museum night. The best part of getting into the museums for free is that you don’t feel obligated to spend a lot of time in each one. You can see what you want to see and move on to the next one.