Despite the fact that l, personally didn’t like Prague much (unlike Federico), I found a few things l did enjoy doing. Hands down, the highlight of Prague for me was a visit to the Nadroni Technicke Muzeum (National Technical Museum) adjacent to the famous Letna Park. Imagine my surprise when we spent over 5 hours discovering everything related to the history of technology in the Czech Republic. Had hunger not gotten a hold of us, I’m sure we could have stayed longer. The Technické Muzeum is spread out over 6 floors, including 3 below ground. Deceptively small from the outside, it is a mecca for, not just techno geeks, but everybody. This post is image heavy, so be warned :-).
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National Technical Museum Visit: Something for everyone
We did quite a bit of Prague sightseeing, but l feel this tech museum, which has to be one of the best museums in Prague is unfortunately not on peoples radar, which is a shame. We might have missed it as well, but the close proximity to our AirBnB lodging (great place in Praha 7 to stay by the way) made it desirable and l was curious to see the old motorcycles.
Tech Museum Prague: a little history
The Nadroni Technicke Muzeum was established in 1908. The first collections came from the professional engineering school which dates back to 1717. It is the largest museum dedicated to preserving the history of technology in the Czech Republic from the second half of the 19th century and after. I definitely recommend picking up a map upon entrance and then starting from your major interest and working backwards which is what we should have done. We were running out of time by the time we got to the transport section after having spent so much time in the exhibitions that were not as exciting to us.
I am going to highlight what we loved most about the tech museum. In addition to these, there were sections such as the ones below that we checked out briefly.
- Chemistry around us. This had works of famous Czech chemists like Otto Wichterle, the inventor of soft contact lenses who won a Nobel prize for his work in 1959. As a pharmacist, it was interesting seeing his “lab”.
- Technology in Toys – we spent very little time here. There were a lot of toys and l imagine any parent would have a hard time pulling their kids away from here.
- Merkur Playroom – I was at a loss. I had never heard of this, but it seemed like Lego like toys. Something else the parents traveling with kids would love.
- Mining – Realistic looking coal mine set-up spread out over 3800 square feet. This part can only be toured with a guide and a separate time specific pass given. We never got to do that, and l would have liked to.
- Architecture, Construction and Design – variety of styles represented here, including modernism, cubism and prefab housing projects. I actually liked this part. The models were very cool.
- Television Studio – I was so sad we didn’t get to see this. There was some sort of lecture or meeting and so it was closed to the public for the day. It would have been fantastic to see how a studio operates. Visitors can play at being newscasters, meteorologists and even film with the Sony equipment as cameramen.
- Measurement of time – there were sundials, hourglasses, huge clocks and every possible way of telling time. That was cool
- Astronomy – Big Bang Theory stuff that is a bit over my head. Astronomy geeks for sure would be enthralled for hours in there. It was a huge room and the oldest device in there almost 5000 years old.
- Household Appliances. This room was in a huge wing. It had old kitchens, fridges, washing machines, ovens, hoovers, pretty much everything that is used in the house. It was interesting to see the really bold colors of yesteryear.. pinks, yellows, lime green. I had a blast in the Bakelite section. I had a friend who collected them and she would have loved that space, old telephones, radio, shaving kits..it just seemed to go on and on!
Technisches Museum: our favorites
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about printing, and then some. The presses show how a newspaper is made from beginning to end. The first printing tablet. The best part about the technical museum is that English is one of the 3 languages on every display plaque, so you get to really understand what you’re looking at. There is no need for headphones and you can go at your own pace. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is one of my favorite books and it was cool to picture his life.
Evolution of cameras, from analog to digital. There were also setups of photo studios and costumes. I actually lost track of Federico in here, finally gave up and caught up with him later :-).
Transport: (Planes, Trains and Automobiles)
Related Reading: Malaga Auto Museum
By far, our favorite section. We should have started from here (lower 3 floors) and then worked our way up. This was a mecca for everything transport related. They had, not just Czech produced products, but also machines made in other countries that were imported and used there. I could have spent the whole day just admiring all those planes, trains and automobiles! There had to be at least 100 bicycles alone on display with collector jerseys and at least the same number of motorcycles, which as a former rider, was of particular interest.
It’s too bad that the Nàrodní Technické Muzeum only gets a quarter million visitors a year. It is easily the best museum in Prague in my opinion. Is the technical museum worth visiting? Most definitely!!! As far as Prague sightseeing, It’s still off the beaten track, so you have the space practically to yourself. The exhibits are top notch and as said prior, there is definitely something for everyone.
Tips for visiting Technické Muzeum Praha:
- Go on a full stomach. You will be there a while :-). There is a cafe there, but it would take time away from seeing more things.
- Wear comfortable shoes. There’s a lot of walking and stairs. No elevators that l saw.
- Get a map and start with your favorites so in case you run out of time, you have seen the best bits.
- You might consider splitting up if you have separate interests and then meet up at a mutually decided point. The technology museum is pretty big, no use dragging your husband to the sewing machine room when they would rather be admiring the bicycles :-).
Technical Museum Prague opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 9AM – 6PM
Admission Price for Technisches museum:
220CZK (~$9.70) Full price
100CZK for children 6-15, people over 65 years & students up to 26 years old
Children under 6 years have free entry
Surcharge for the Ore and Coal Mine tour is 50 CZK (full) and 30CZK reduced.
Note that there is also a 3 admissions within 6 months tickets which costs 460 CZK with the reduced ticket costing 230 CZK. I wondered about that when we were purchasing our tickets, but after visiting, I can understand why it might be more economical to get that. There is a lot to see at this Prague museum.
Národní Technické Muzeum Address:
170 78 Praha 7
It sits behind the world famous Letna Park (just a few minutes walk from the beer garden).
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Have you been to Prague? If so.. did you visit any museums that you think was better than the national Technical Museum? If so, please share. If not, would you like to visit this absolutely brilliant museum or would you rather stick to the usual Prague sightseeing and beer drinking?