The National museum (Czech: Národní muzeum) is a Czech museum institution intended to systematically establish, prepare and publicly exhibit natural scientific and historical collections. It was founded 1818 in Prague by Kašpar Maria Šternberg. Historian František Palacký was also strongly involved. At present the National Museum houses almost 14 million items from the area of natural history, history, arts, music and librarianship, located in tens of buildings.
The National Museum in Prague:
The National Museum in Prague was founded on April 15, 1818, with the first president of the Society of the Patriotic Museum being named Count Sternberk, which would serve as the trustee and operator of the museum. Early on, the focus of the museum was centered on natural sciences, partially because Count Sternberk was a botanist, mineralogist, and eminent phytopaleontologist, but also because of the natural science slant of the times, as perpetrated by Emperor Joseph II of Austria.
The museum was originally located in the Sternberg Palace but it was soon apparent that this was too small to hold the museum's collections. The museum relocated to the Nostitz Palace but this was also found to be of insufficient capacity which led to the decision to construct a new building for the museum in Wenceslas Square.
The museum did not become interested in the acquisition of historical objects until the 1830s and 40s, when Romanticism became prevalent, and the institution of the museum was increasingly seen as a center for Czech nationalism. Serving as historian and secretary of the National Museum in 1841, Frantisek Palacky would try to balance natural science and history, as he described in his Treatise of 1841. It was a difficult task, however, and it would not be until nearly a century later until the National Museum’s historical treasures equaled its collection of natural science artifacts.