Thursday, February 23, 2012: Writing on the Wall

Antonín Dvořák

A few of the comments from international visitors at the Antonín Dvořák Exhibition

The Hand-Writing on the Wall

The hand-writing is on the wall: with nearly 20,000 visitors coming through the Antonín Dvořák exhibition at the Czech Museum of Music, the show will go on. The exhibition has been extended through June 3, 2012, a full year since its opening. It was originally scheduled to close next Wednesday.

So even with an extra day in February this year, if you haven’t seen the exhibit yet, you still have time. And if you have seen it, it’s worth a return visit.

The hand-written comments shown here aren’t actually on a wall – not even on a Facebook wall. They’re some of the comments visitors have left in the exhibition guest book. Lenka Kobrová, a public relations official for the museum, says the visitors have come from many different countries, with no one country predominating (aside from the Czech Republic, of course).

You can see more comments by visiting the exhibition website (

Antonin Dvorak Exhibition

The chance to touch makes the Dvořák Exhibition fascinating for visitors

The most popular parts of the lively, imaginative exhibit, according to Mrs Kobrová, are the water nymph Rusalka’s Moon (which is reflected in a small pool of real water), and the robe that the maestro wore when he received an honorary degree from Cambridge.

But this isn’t some dusty old formless garment hanging in a cube of glass. Visitors are welcomed to try it on – including the accompanying mortarboard. (Many do. Is that because they secretly would like to earn an honorary degree, or because they somehow want to feel a closer connection to Dvořák?)

The exhibit, a coordinated effort by the National Museum, the Antonín Dvořák Museum in Prague, and the Museum of Music, displays many of the 8,000 Dvořák artifacts of the museums, including newly-acquired documents about performances of Dvořák’s works in the Terezín concentration camp. With such an extensive collection, there’s been no need for the exhibit to change or augmented during its run, though. “In the exhibition there is really the best – there couldn’t be any better or more precious exhibits on display,” in Mrs Kobrová’s opinion.

During the course of the exhibition, several special concerts, lectures, theatre, and programs for school groups are being held alongside the interactive displays. You can hear some of the lesser-known vocal works by Dvořák as well as Foerster in a free recital Monday at 6 pm.

A non-traditional program, “The New World Symphony in the 21st Century,” uses modern dance, remixed music, and video projection. That’s scheduled for Wednesday at 7 pm, and entrance is free. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Top: National Museum website; bottom: Miroslav Setnička

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