The Plzen Ethnographic Museum is located in the Republic Square of the city. Here, in the heart of the city, an interesting exhibition has been placed in two historically connected houses.
One enters the museum through a corridor between two houses. Just before an inner courtyard opens, the ticket office is located behind a small window.
The exhibition itself can only be visited with a guided tour. I was the only visitor on this day and times for guided tours were also not designated.
After I was handed a folder with laminated English explanations, I had to wait a short time. An older woman who understood neither German nor English came to me with a bunch of keys. She accompanied me through the entire exhibition, turned on the lights in the rooms and after me also off again, closed and unlocked doors and stood while I sometimes felt very observed, in a corner and waited for me to go on. My attempt to get an answer to questions failed miserably, I was only looked at and forwarded.
I have to say, it was one of the most curious museum visits I have ever experienced. The visit itself I really enjoyed, the Ethnographic Museum Plzen is really great.
History of the museum
The Ethnographic Museum is located in two Renaissance houses, the Chotěšovský House and the Gerlachovský House. Both buildings are listed and connected with each other.
The Gerlachovský House was almost demolished around 1910, fortunately it was preserved due to the efforts of a circle of friends. It was decided to use the building as a museum and at first they showed smaller exhibitions. In 1919 the opening of the Ethnographic Museum took place.
During the Second World War, some valuable exhibits disappeared. After the war, they restored the exhibition.
When the communists came to power, various museums were merged to form the Museum of West Bohemia. Today, the museum is still a part of the Museum of West Bohemia and is administered by the Ethnographic Department.
The ethnographic collection now numbers more than 77,000 exhibits and is one of the largest ethnographic collections in the Czech Republic. Many exhibits are also in other museums in the country.
Tour of the Plzen Ethnographic Museum
In the museum there is a permanent exhibition on the theme “How people lived in the Plzen region”. Temporary exhibitions on various themes are held in some rooms.
The exhibition rooms are designed in a tour. First, one passes through several rooms dealing with the theme of living. Here you can see the furnishings of bourgeois homes from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Biedermeier periods and from the first third of the 20th century.
I really like some of the furniture and could imagine placing individual pieces of it in the apartment. Exciting also a look into a kitchen with open fire and clay pots. I was already looking for something like that for making sauerkraut.
Another focus is the life in the rural area. In two rooms furnishings are shown that were typical for the rural area. Behind one door I discovered a so-called “black” kitchen from the early 19th century. The soot-blackened room would not really be my case for cooking.
I was impressed by the beautiful traditional costumes from the Plzen region. I would love to see them worn at an event and then see a traditional dance.
Two other rooms really impressed me. In the first room there was a pharmacy from Plzen. The interior dates back to the 19th century. From tools for medicine to pots and jars with herbs, the only thing missing was the pharmacist behind the sales table mixing ointments.
In the second room was built a small store. A sales counter with a scale, some typical products and a cabinet with drawers. This is exactly how I always imagined a “corner store” in the countryside.
At the end of the tour we passed through a room full of looms. Here the traditional craft is presented in workshops.
I really enjoyed the visit, even though it was strange to walk through the rooms alone and observed. The atmosphere in the small rooms is something very special and many times I felt transported back in time.
Národopisné muzeum Plzeňska
náměstí Republiky 13
301 00 Plzeň
Tuesday-Sunday: 10-18 h
Adults: 60 CZK
Discounts are offered.
Disclosure: The visit to the Pilsen Ethnographic Museum was part of a research trip to the region.