About us


1950 -- On  April 14th, the Premonstratensians were expelled from the Strahov Monastery hereupon taken over by the State Office for the Church Affairs; that year saw the establishment of the National Commission to supervise the employment of monasteries and cloisters, their art collections and book fonds. Strahov was intended to be a site for a future ‘Museum of National Revival’.

1951 -- The plan to establish the Museum of National Revival was re-formulated to envisage a national culture memorial whose emphasise would be laid on literature. The Strahov Library opened on 21st September.

1952 -- The National Culture Memorial (NCM) was established on January 22nd to take over the Strahov Monastery including the Strahov Library fonds (130,000 volumes) and monastery libraries fonds (400,000 volumes); the Monastery housed the Institute of Czech Literature, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.

1953 -- The scope of the NCM’s activities decreased as a result of the establishment of the Museum of Czech Literature (MCL). The permanent exhibition spanning the development of Czech literature was launched on May 8th (the script by the Institute for Czech Literature, CAS, edited by J. Mukařovský).

1958 -- The so-called interim group under the MCL management (Antonín Dvořák Museum, Bedřich Smetana Museum, Alois Jirásek Museum) was formed that year. On November 10 th, 1948 the Government issued the decision to convert the Star Summer Palace in the Game Reserve on White Mountain (Bílá Hora), Prague 6, into the Jirásek Museum. The reconstruction (P. Janák) and the exhibition installation (Z. Nejedlý) occurred from 1949-1950. The Alois Jirásek Museum opened to mark the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth (September 2nd, 1951).

1962 -- The Game Reserve, the Star Summer Palace and the battle field with a burial mound over the dead from the Battle of White Mountain were designated national cultural monuments on 30th March. (NCM White Mountain)  

1964 -- On January 1st, the Museum of Czech Literature expanded by the Literary Archive that had been the in the National Museum Library. The Alois Jirásek and Mikoláš Aleš Museum arose from the Ministry of Education and Culture’s decision to house a permanent exhibition featuring the White Mountain National Cultural Monument (1966) and a display showing Mikoláš Aleš (1967).

1970 -- The MCL rented part of the restored castle in the village of Staré Hrady u Jičína on May 11th for the purposes of Literary Archive. It would host the installation of J. Vrchlický’s study (1974).

1976 -- The Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana Museum was incorporated into the National Museum, department of the Czech Museum of Music; the Alois Jirásek and Mikoláš Aleš Museum remained in the MCL.

1990 -- Pursuant to Acts on the mitigation of property crimes on the Churches, the Strahov Monastery was handed over to the Royal Canonry of the Premonstratensians at Strahov on July 19th. The MCL rented some rooms and would start to leave the site and to gradually close down the permanent exhibition.

1991 -- On January 1st, the ‘Cabinet Ex Libris’ in Chrudim was incorporated into the MCL; the MCL undertook organizing competitions and exhibitions co-arranged by The Association of Collectors and Friends of Ex Libris (since 1974.) 

1992 -- On  November 17th, the Ministry of Culture CR issued the MCL statute so defined its mission: ‘It is a specialised museum in the Czech Republic that amasses, processes, preserves and provides access to archival, book and art sources that concern the history of literature and the book culture dating from the 18th century to the present’.

1993 -- The MCL developed a conception of dislocation: to leave spaces in the Monastery, to establish detached workplaces outside Prague. The conception of the Star Summer Place use was re-developed; a new building to house the MCL head office was assured.

2000 -- The rebuilt Star Summer Palace opened on May 25th with the permanent exhibition showing the Palace during four centuries: ‘History and the Present’ arranged within the ‘Prague 2000 - European City of Culture’ programme. On December 29th, the Ministry of Culture CR issued the Founding Charter that stated: ‘The MCL serves the function as a museum whose mission is to acquire, to amass, to preserve, to register, to professionally process and to provide access to collections of museum character dating from the 18th century to the present.

2002 --The MCL Collection entered the Ministry of Culture’s Central Registry of Collections on September 25th.

2004 --.The reconstruction of the Hájenka - Emperor’s Kitchen built in 1555-1558 as the Star Summer Palace secondary area finished on October 31st. It houses the depository of Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic library and book wholes; the Study Room boasts a permanent exhibition illustrating Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic’s life and work.

2005 -- The MCL acquired a building with an extension and part of a land estate in Prague 6 – Bubeneč pursuant to the Czech Republic Government Regulations No. 346 of 23 March 2005. The Hájenka opened once (only on September 15th) within the European Heritage Days programme: ‘A New Life in Historical Environment’ and to mark fifty years which has elapsed since the MCL gained the collection of  J. Karásek ze Lvovic (1955).

2006 -- The MCL got hold of another building in Prague 6 – Bubeneč in Pellé Street according to the Czech Republic Government Decree No. 301 of 22 March 2006. The Study Room in the Hájenka opened to the public in April.

2007 – The extension was handed over to the Czech Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the MCL was given a house with a land estate in Pellé Street in compensation. Arrangements for construction works in Pellé Street 20/70, Prague 6 – Bubeneč started in April; however, the construction works themselves would never start due to high costs.

2008 – The question regarding the restoration of the building in Bubeneč and moving there remained open due to administrative issues. The institution was given a chance to build up a central depository in Terezín, which had been supported by the IOP programme, but the chance had to be abandoned due to the town’s location in a flood plain. Some rooms in Duchcov (National Heritage Institute) were rented at the end of the year due to moving parts of the depository from the castle Staré Hrady .

2009 -- The depository in the State Castle Duchcov came into operation; the MCL received the accreditation from the Ministry of Interior CR  of the Archive Administration. The MCL officially requested to be recognized as a scientific research institution. The exhibition ‘The Literature without Frontiers’ was staged in the Star Summer Palace along with the ‘international poetry readings’ in the Cervantes Institute in Prague during the Czech Republic Chairmanship in the Council of Europe.

2010 – Based on appeal lodged in 2009, the charge-free transfer of the former military complex in Litoměřice was brought to completion; the year saw a draft of the investment plan for the use of the complex as the central depository. The so-called Little Villa in Pellé Street 20/70, Prague 6 came into operation where programme activities and digitization would be launched. On September 24th, the Government Office for Research, Science and Innovations issued the Resolution which declared the MCL a listed research institution pursuant to documents that had been discussed with the Ministry of Culture CR and the Office for the Protection of Competition. The MCL Foundation Chart was amended to introduce increase in activities by applied research and experimental development according to the decision by the Ministry of Culture. 

2011 -- The administrative issues (the Magistrate of the Capital City of Prague restitution claims) had been settled in favour of the MCL. The Ministry of Culture was given the investment plan related to the MCL new head office. The MCL first took part in a ‘Prague Museum Night’.

2012 – Newly determined conditions resulted in the registration and the Central Depository in Litoměřice project went out to public tender. Scientific publications started in a new edition The Depository. A new programme course, ‘European Literature Nights’ was embarked upon that year.

2013 -- The Museum of Czech Literature 1953-2013 was published to commemorate sixty years of the MCL existence. The Central Depository in Litoměřice construction works went out to public tender; the complex expanded by acquisition of the third building: a small house which visually closes the Litoměřice Central Depository estates.

2014 – The launch of construction works on the Litoměřice Central Depository; Stage 1 was almost completed; the implementation of a project aimed to build a new head office in the Petschek Villa that would be followed by a public tender for contractor.

2015 -- Stage 1 of the Litoměřice Central Depository reconstruction was completed; all works on the Literary Archive Depository in Litoměřice completely finished. The MCL co-organized the 5th Congress of World Literary Scientific Bohemistics.  The Methodological Centre for Book Culture and Literary Museums opened in the MCL.

2016 -- The MCL Collections moved from depositories in Staré Hrady and Duchcov (rentals finished) to the Litoměřice Central Depository at the beginning of the year.

2017 -- The reconstruction of the MCL future head office in Prague 6 – Bubeneč  was launched in the middle of the year to be finished in the autumn 2019 and open to the public in the late mid-2020.