Tuesday - Sunday, from 10 AM to 6 PM
The exhibition 28 October provides a unique opportunity to see the rooms of the former Czech Men’s Club which the Czechoslovak National Committee used since the summer of 1918 by the approval of the city of Prague representatives. On Monday evening, 28 October, Antonín Švehla, Alois Rašín, František Soukup, Jiří Stříbrný, and Vavro Šrobár, later referred to as the ‘Men of 28 October’, signed there the law on the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state and adopted the capitulation of the headquarters of the 8th Military Corps of the Austrian Army. Thus, the city of Prague’s original intention was fulfilled to the highest extent as it built the Municipal House not only as a seat of its presentation, but also as a place to develop the cultural and social life of Prague residents and present Czech society as a nation of flourishing culture and politics.
Throughout the Great War, the Municipal House was a venue of multiple charity events to support soldiers on the front and their families; beginning in 1917, political gatherings that openly supported the right of nations for self-determination and the establishment of the independent Czech state became more frequent. As becomes apparent in the introductory part of the exhibition, after 1848 there was a boom of the political emancipation of the Czech nation and the existence of the Czech state; however, the Czech political representation including Tomáš Garrique Masaryk (1850–1937) envisaged Czech political independence within the federalised Austria-Hungary up to the first years of the Great War. The issue of the joint state of Czechs and Slovaks, previously solely connected by cultural and political activities, was
The second part of the exhibition presents the difficult situation of the Prague administration during wartime that had to ensure the city operations under the uneasy war conditions without any support from the state. The dilatory attitude of state authorities towards the problems of Prague and the necessity to confront them on their own compelled the municipality, previously loyal to the emperor and the Habsburg Monarchy, and its mayor, Karel Groš (1865–1938), to intensely criticise the government and its measures. Manifestations that supported the idea of an independent state became more frequent in Old Town Hall as well.
With respect to the exhibition venue, the creators pay the greatest attention to the ‘Men of 28 October’ and the events immediately connected with the declaration of the independent Czechoslovak state including their impact on the Prague administration. The public and private documents on display – such as the membership cards of the National Committee board members, the notes of Antonín Švehla for the National Oath, and the prison diary of Alois Rašín – familiarise visitors with not only the political activities of the ‘Men of 28 October’ but also enable them to take a look behind the scenes. The exhibition presents information and exhibits about the domestic and foreign resistance movements during the Great War as well as archival materials about Slovakia joining the common state.
The final part of the exhibition is dedicated to the reflections of the establishment of the Czechoslovak republic in everyday life and in the 20th century. The digital presentation of historical photographs and documents, which focuses on the 28 October celebrations, reminds one of the varieties of the interpretations of this historical milestone by the representatives of 20th century regimes.