In the heart of Prague you can explore the world of Asian, African and American cultures. The museum founder, Vojta Náprstek (1826–1894), was a Czech patriot, a benefactor and a champion of progress. His family brewery in Betlémské Square was transformed into a centre of Czech intellectual life, and Náprstek co-founded the Czech Ramblers Association. Later, when his ethnographic collections grew so large that the family brewery wasn’t large enough, he had an extension constructed that still bears his name – the Náprstek Museum.
The venue forms part of the National Museum’s permanent exhibitions, and the life and work of Vojta Náprstek forms a separate exhibition. The ground floor contains a library open to the public, a study area, a lecture theatre and a room where exhibitions on non-European cultures are regularly staged. The museum collections are exceptionally extensive; only a fraction is on display in the permanent exhibition. You’ll find the Culture of Australia and Oceania section on the third floor of the building. The display examines the ways of life of indigenous peoples of the Australian continent and of the islands of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. In three halls, items of Australian hunter-gatherer tribes are presented, as well as every day and ceremonial objects of farmers and fishermen, and cult and ritual objects.
It’s also worth visiting the U Halánků house, which dates from the end of the 16th century. The original business of the parents of Vojta Náprstek is referred to in the inscription above the portal: “U Halánků, pivovar a vinopalna” (U Halánků, brewery and distillery). You can relax in the museum courtyard, and the space often stages free open-air exhibitions.Corentin