Founded in 1885, the Prague Museum of Decorative Arts (Czech: Uměleckoprůmyslové muzeum v Praze or UPM) is housed in a Neo-Renaissance edifice built from 1897 to 1899 after the designs of architect Josef Schulz. It opened in 1900 with exhibitions on the first floor.
The Museum’s rich collections include decorative and applied arts and design work ranging from Late Antiquity to the present day with focus on European objects, particularly arts and crafts created in the Bohemian lands. The impressive interior of the permanent exhibition, “Stories of Materials,” offers visitors an excursion into the history and development of decorative arts in the disciplines of glass, ceramics, graphic art, design, metal, wood and other materials, as well as objects such as jewellery, clocks and watches, textiles, fashion, toys and furniture.
The museum in Prague collects and preserves for future generations examples of historical and contemporary crafts as well as applied arts and design-in both national and international contexts. The staff and directors believe in the harmony between function, quality and beauty; its claimed ambition is to inspire, educate and entertain in a unique way.
The largest Czech library specializing in the arts and related fields is an integral part of the museum. It holds 172,000 volumes, including authoritative art encyclopedias, dictionaries of artists, comprehensive works on iconography, topography and heraldry. Apart from art books and other scholarly publications, the library contains numerous reference manuals and periodicals. It provides on-premise use of resources, database access and research in the Art and Architecture (ART) subject gateway. The exhibition halls of the museum and the library are fully accessible to wheelchair users.