National Technical Museum
The museum, established in 1908 contains 14 permanent expositions: transportation, architecture, construction and design, astronomy, printing, photo studio, Merkur playroom, household appliances, mining, metallurgy, and measurement of time.
The transportation history exhibit in the “transportation hall” is traditionally the most popular among visitors. The world of old technology comes alive here: The first automobiles which ran on combustion and steam engines, numerous motorcycles showing their development from the end of the 19th century to present, samples of railway technology, airplanes suspended from the ceiling – including a hot-air balloon basket, Igo Etrich’s glider, the plane that Jan Kašpar used for the first long-haul flight in the Czech lands and unique historical planes such as an Anatra DS, a Traktor, Zlín Z XIII recreation planes and dozens of others. All of this creates a unique atmosphere – a kind of cathedral of technology in which both the famed and flawless machines that proved their worth, and the mechanisms documenting the mistakes or blind alleys of technology have their say.
The exhibit is made of four floors around an open courtyard that shows the entire historical development of automobile, motorcycle, cycling, aviation and boat transportation. In shorter excursions it shows segments from the history of railway transportation and the development of fire-brigade technology in the Czech lands – both machines manufactured in the Republic and those imported from abroad and operated there. Tatra, the iconic Czech company was represented of course along with a Mercedes W154 Silver Arrow.
Also on display were a couple of motorcycles and cars from JAWA a motorcycle and moped manufacturer founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1929 by František Janeček. JAWA also built cars for a time, with the first models based upon a design by DKW.
The goal of the “Chemistry Around Us” exposition is to show chemistry in a context of which many of us are not aware. Many items that we handle every day, many processes that we take for granted, were born in a chemist's workshop, in test tubes, and in developmental, technological and industrial laboratories.
The exposition also presents noteworthy pioneers in the field of chemistry, like the work of noted Czech chemist Jaroslav Heyrovský, who received the 1959 Nobel prize for polarography, and the work of Otto Wichterle, whose invention of soft contact lenses was a world-changing event. Visitors will see Otto's original design equipment, built from a Merkur children's construction set.
The Industrial Revolution has two phases: one material, the other social; one concerning the making of things, the other concerning the making of men.Charles A. Beard