North Bohemian Museum in Liberec

Modernisation of the main building

The main building of the North Bohemian Museum on the Masaryk Street in Liberec was built in 1896-1898 according to the winning project of the Austrian court architect Friedrich Ohmann. From the beginning, the building was conceived as the seat of the Museum of Arts and Crafts, which in 1945 was expanded institutionally and in terms of its exhibitions to include a formerly independent museum of local history and natural history.

Between 2018 and 2020, over 4,000 square metres of space were upgraded to include all publicly accessible interiors and part of the original offices, which were converted into installed depositories for collection items. New spaces were created and adapted for the barrier-free visitor service, the building was equipped with new technologies necessary for modern museum operations, and the building’s historic structural elements underwent sensitive repair and extensive restoration.

The North Bohemian Museum now features...

the art-historical exhibition Beauty + Utility, the exhibition Touches of the North, which focuses on the nature of the Jizera Mountains and Frýdlant region, the new exhibition Liberec Fragments about the history of Liberec or the Photographic Gallery focused on the presentation of artistic and historical photographs. The exhibitions are uniformly designed in a contemporary architectural form so as not to compete with the architecture of the historical monument, but to technically and artistically expand its museum and cultural potential in general with the help of modern technologies. The modernisation of the listed building has been carried out in such a way that the newly inserted structures and equipment are reversible to the greatest extent possible. Educational and interactive elements of the exhibitions were created in cooperation with schools of arts and crafts, whose current teaching fields are also promoted in the exhibitions. Selected parts of the building are permanently designed to promote contemporary Czech artists, designers and companies focusing on contemporary design and applied art. A new part of the visitor service is an educational studio for 30 children, which is linked to the newly created FOG photographic mini-gallery. As part of the project, collection items were restored and form part of the new exhibitions. The North Bohemian Museum was responsible for the installation of all the exhibitions.

The author of the text is Jiří Křížek, director of the museum

The supplier of interior furnishings was the company M Plus spol. s r. o.

The new exhibitions of the North Bohemian Museum in Liberec, created by the Hlaváček Architects studio, combine the classic concept of presentation (panels, showcases, pedestals) and interactive and educational elements enlivened by modern technologies. The advantage of the artistic and spatial layout of all thematic parts is undoubtedly the solution that respects and does not overshadow the architecture of the museum and its uplifting interior. The exhibitions spread over two floors, including the visitor-accessible depository, and represent a cross-section of all areas of art, crafts and industry that are important to the Liberec region.

A separate exhibition, in the form of large natural scenographies behind glass display cases and a children’s climbing holes, presents "Nature of Liberec". But the exhibits, displayed in nearly 150 showcases, atypical, unique in shape and design, sculptures and artefacts standing on pedestals or posters and paintings hanging on the walls, are what matter the most in all the museum’s exhibitions. The static part of the thematic exhibits is accompanied by playful interactive elements, allowing visitors, either virtually on screens or on real 3D models, to try out crafts (potter’s wheel, coinage), feel and examine materials (textiles, wood, bookbindings), choose and listen to the voices of birds in a quiz. Also included are workshop rooms and their equipment with AV technology, cloakrooms, a reception with a ticket office and a museum entrance area with a glass floor fitted with glass steles designed for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.

Due to the state of emergency and inaccessible museum facilities, the exhibition is only available to view on the museum’s website, in the form of a web-based virtual tour. This also covers other details of the stylish interior furnishings, the supply of which was no longer part of our work.

The author of the text is Kateřina Soukupová, M Plus spol. s r.o.

An interesting interactive element of the exhibition is the interactive book. The book is bound in real parchment (goatskin) and is brought to life through video mapping. The book was created in cooperation with MgA Milada Vališová, who is a prominent book restorer. 

The creation required the use of a special IR illuminator and a camera to recognize the page symbols. Recognition symbols are created by multi-material 3D printing, which helps better recognize the symbol and especially zoom in on the ever-changing angle and height of the page.

The book is a combination of audiovisual and haptic experience.

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