The Patton Memorial Plzen is a unique museum that cannot be found anywhere else in the Czech Republic. It is dedicated to the American Army and was opened in 2005 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Plzen and South Bohemia.
The museum is located on the edge of the historic city centre and belongs more to the category of insider tips in Plzen.
We visited the exhibition and I was really impressed. The texts at the information panels are very interesting and I got information about the end of the Second World War in the region around Plzen that I had never heard of before. For example, I didn’t even know that American soldiers were in this region from May to November 1945.
Why is the museum called Patton Memorial?
At least that was a question I asked myself before our visit.
Patton is the name of an American general. George Smith Patton served in the US Army during the Second World War and was in command of the 3rd US Army after its landing in Normandy. His troops were engaged in the advance through southern Germany to western Bohemia. After the capture of Plzen, this was stopped for political reasons.
His troops remained in Plzen for some time and determined post-war life until the region was handed over to the Soviet military.
After the war, Patton was military governor of Bavaria. One day before he was to return to the USA, he had a traffic accident in which he fractured his neck. Shortly afterwards, he died of a pulmonary embolism in the military hospital in Heidelberg.
About the exhibition at the Patton Memorial Plzen
The exhibition in the Patton Memorial Plzen focuses on two main themes: the landing of the Allied troops in Normandy with the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the Czech West.
You get a lot of information from the information panels, which I personally liked very much. Many texts were written in a very personal way and thus seemed more authentic to me than the mere presentation of individual facts.
In addition, you can see exhibits, some of which come directly from the battlefield, such as a water bottle or medical instruments. Many exhibits also come from veterans and their families, who donated them to the small museum in order to document the events more vividly.
They are particularly proud of some items that came from General Patton’s estate and of the regular visits from his grandson.
I was particularly drawn to the history of Plzen and the surrounding region, which is on display at the Patton Memorial Plzen. During the country’s communist period, this was a part of history that was certainly kept quiet, but it is a fact that American troops liberated the city and subsequently dominated life in the city for a while.
For example, the history of the Škoda Works and its bombing, an event that influenced life in the entire region, is discussed in great detail.
Many post-war events and the efforts of the soldiers who tried to improve life in the city are shown. Here, the museum’s curators draw on accounts from veterans, giving the exhibition a very personal touch.
On one wall I discovered numerous signatures. These are the signatures of veterans who have visited the museum. Many veterans and their families come to the city every year in May for the “Plzen Liberation Festival” celebrations.
Pobřežní 10, Plzen
Wednesday-Sunday: 9-16 h
Discounts are offered.
Disclosure: The visit to the Patton Memorial Plzen was part of a research trip to Plzen.