Lucie Kodišová, Lenka Vacinová, Jiří Sejkora and Luboš Polanský
The new Treasury of the National Museum will present rare crafts-manship of precious stones and metals in connection with the natural form of these materials. The Treasury will be followed by a Numismatic Cabinet, which will introduce the history of money from Antiquity till today. The Treasury and the Numismatic Cabinet will be interconnected in a joint hall devoted to gold and silver and they will be thematically intertwined in the hallway with the presentation of production technologies. The Treasury is created in close cooperation within the National Museum – the Natural History Museum and the Historical Museum. The base line will consist of minerals from diamonds to quartz and organic matter, which will join together with goldsmiths and artisanal arts into a unique complex. The main goal of the new Numismatic Cabinet is the establishment of a numismatic exposition that will be both scholarly exact and intriguing at the same time, educating visitors of the development of payment methods from Antiquity until today in a comprehensible and attractive way. The chronological exposition will be divided into several basic thematic sequential units.
In this text, I describe a specific way of addressing the past in video games which are set in historical times but at the same time deliberately undermine the facticity of their virtual worlds. By grounding my argument in analyses of two blockbuster productions—Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft, 2007) and Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision, 2010)—I introduce and define the notion of “simulational realism”. Both games belong to best-selling franchises and share an interesting set of features: they relate to historical places, events, and figures, establish counter-factual narratives based around conspiracy theories, and—most importantly—display many formal similarities. Like most AAA games, Assassin’s Creed and Black Ops intend to immerse the player in the virtual reality and, for this purpose, they naturalize their interfaces as integral elements of reality. However, in the process of naturalizing simulation, objectivity of the past becomes unthinkable.
In my considerations, I situate this problem in two contexts: 1) of a cultural and epistemic shift in perceiving reality which was influenced by dissemination of digital technologies; 2) Vilém Flusser’s prognosis on the effects of computation on human knowledge. According to Flusser’s theory of communication, history—as a specific kind of human knowledge—emerged out of writing that was always linear and referential. Consequently, the crisis of literary culture resulted in the emergence of new aesthetics and forms of representations which—given their digital origin—dictate new ways of understanding reality. As history is now being substituted by timeless post-history, aesthetic conventions of realism are also transformed and replaced by digital equivalents.
Following Flusser’s theory, I assert that we should reflect on the epistemological consequences of presenting the past as simulation, especially if we consider the belief shared by many players that games like Assassin’s Creed can be great tools for learning history. I find such statements problematic, if we consider that the historical discourse, grounded on fact, is completely incompatible with the aesthetics of sim-realism which evokes no illusion of objective reality.
Nature (Příroda) is an aggregate of more or less separate permanent natural science exhibitions. These are focused on mineralogy, meteorites and tektites, famous ore deposits and mines of the Czech Republic, prehistorical development of Czech territory, mycology and botany. The majority of “Nature” is devoted to geosciences, whereas contemporary nature of the Czech Republic will be presented in a series of multidisciplinary temporary exhibitions focused on individual phenomena of (not only) Czech nature and on the interrelations of man and nature. The mineralogical exhibition will be installed in its original location and historical furniture being a reminder of the original exhibits that have been preserved intact since the end of the 19th century.
Jiří Košta, Petr Velemínský, Helena Svobodová and Vítězslav Kuželka
The People exhibition will be composed of several closely interconnected expositions. The first will be the mainly biological-anthropological exposition Man and His Predecessors, which will continually transform into an archaeological and cultural-anthropological exposition Story of the Prehistoric Past. A smaller exhibition devoted to diseases and their treatment will form a standalone unit. The final exposition will be dedicated to Antique arts and culture. The exposition block will encompass the most comprehensive presentation of anthropology, prehistory and Antique material culture in the Czech lands. General patterns of humans, societies and culture will be presented through the development of man and Czech and European prehistory and Antiquity. Interlinking approaches of various disciplines will form the fundament for original and current presentations of individual topics. It will offer not only interpretations and conclusions, but it will also reveal the possibilities and limits of their study methods. The ratio of presentation forms will change throughout the individual parts of the exposition blocks. The visual focal point will pass from models, reconstructions, replicas and dioramas towards the impressive power of original exhibits.
The Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures acquired two hundred items from Tibet in the 1950s: bronze sculptures, paintings and ritual implements. These items came from private collections confiscated after the Second War World according to the presidential decrees dealing with the post-war state reconstruction. Although the administration of the confiscated properties was meticulous, the transfer of items to the Náprstek Museum interrupted the history of ownership and meant the loss of the historical knowledge of its origin. As the result, the Tibet collection in the Náprstek Museum reveals more about the political and social history of post-war Czechoslovakia than about the perception of Tibetan culture in Czechoslovakia during the first half of the 20th century.
Eva Doležalová, Marie Šedivá Koldinská, Martin Sekera, Jana Mezerová and Marek Junek
The exposition named History will present the development of the Czech lands from the 9th century till the present. The exposition will be divided into two separate spaces – the Historical Building of the National Museum will house the history of the 9th–19th centuries and the New Building of the National Museum will house the history from the 20th century. Despite reflecting to a certain extent the traditional division of the Middle Ages, Early Modern Period, the “long” 19th century, and the 20th century, the narrative will be continuous without any artificial historical disruptions. We will debunk some historical myths and stereotypes. Emphasis will be laid on the presentation of items from the collections of the National Museum. A certain update will also be important, i.e. the presentation of ideas and symbols, that we refer to today. Parallel narratives will be nonetheless important, as they will show that history is not unambiguous and that certain events can be viewed from several different perspectives (e.g. the winner and the loser, nobleman and subject). Last but not least, we will address the issues of individual freedom and its limits.
We present the application of dendrochronological dating of the renovation and construction works of churches in the Kaunas and Vilnius regions of Lithuania. The model for the estimation of the missing rings of Scots pine was used in Lithuania for the first time. We have assessed 18 timber cross-sections from nine churches, which were used for the constructions from the second half of the 17th to 19th c. The oldest wood samples were dated from St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius (1668±4) and St. George, the Martyr, (Bernardine) Church in Kaunas (1693±3). The aim of this study was to compare the results of the investigation of timber samples from 9 churches with archival sources and literature data and to reveal the renovation history of the buildings. The study of written historical sources has revealed a lack of recorded building and reconstruction phases of the churches. This fact was later confirmed by the results of dendrochronological dating. The dating of the timber revealed undocumented reconstruction dates in Zapyškis church (1791±3), St. George, the Martyr, (Bernardine) Church in Kaunas (1711±4), St. Anne Church in Skaruliai (1693±3) and Vilnius Cathedral (1814±4).
The article explores how a number of artists have employed the counter/actual as a form of past-talk in a conscious intervention into socio-political and ethical issues arising from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. I argue that such uses of the counter/actual more effectively foreground the injustices arising from the occupation while not only problematising the process of representation but also deconstructing the ways in which histories are intimately intertwined with relations of power and practises of legitimisation; they do not simply reproduce “the (f)actual” but work to repossess the past from the dominance of hegemonic interests.
Even though the tramping subculture forms a part of Czech society for nearly a century, it only gained the attention of the museums and other memory institutions, aside from some exceptions, over the last three decades. The paper examines both previous research on the history and on the present status of the tramping movement in the Czech and Slovak Republics, and the general theoretical and methodological problems it raises. These include, among others, assessing the importance of individual tramping groups defined locally, socially and by generation; the fragmentary makeup of sources resulting predominantly from the private nature of the tramping and, finally, choosing the appropriate methods when documenting and archiving findings. It focuses, furthermore, on ethical problems of such a research and assesses the blurred boundaries between tramping and other forms of grouping or staying outdoors. The present paper is based on the experience of documenting the tramping movement in the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum and within the grant project of the Department of Czech History in the Faculty of Arts of Charles University.
The present paper focuses on countryside life after the collectivization of agriculture and on the changes of the work processes there during the so-called normalization (1969–1987). It is based on narrative interviews with the then Czechoslovak agriculture workers conducted through the method of oral history. The research examines everyday life in the countryside through the memories of the interviewed. Their memories recorded through the method of oral history are treated here as an important historical resource for researchers in Modern History.