PLAYFULLY THROUGH HISTORY
The objective was to create an exhibition that would not be built using the typical model of exhibition spaces. We wanted our visitors to gain this knowledge through practical activities that they would perform themselves. The interactive approach to learning is quickly growing in popularity – this can be seen in the large number of interested visitors who often return to the exhibition of the skills of our ancestors.
The thematically furnished rooms introduce traditional crafts and knowledge of medieval monasteries as well as the life of the nobility in Gothic and Renaissance times. You can mix potions in the alchemist laboratory, try on costumes, create herbal oils and bathing salts, and try stenciling or writing with a quill. The youngest visitors can enjoy our playroom full of toys and the mystical Danse Macabre in the attic. The attic also offers a real gem of this exhibition, a large model of the historical center of the “new town” of Český Krumlov.
We regularly exchange the craft activities so that visitors who return to us have the possibility to gain new experiences and try something new. There is also a great potential for exhibition spaces to be used for creative workshops. We have plenty of experience with events focused on herbal treatment and use. Plans to introduce soap-making workshops and other new courses are underway.
As a bonus to the Interactive Exhibition, you can also visit an exhibition of beer brewing which interactively and playfully introduces the process of medieval beer making. Originally, breweries were mostly established in monasteries. You can try various tools, inspect different types of malt, and read about how the beer mash was originally thin and only slightly fermented, and how it was gradually perfected.
This exhibition is not barrier-free accessible.
CURIOSITIES FROM OUR EXHIBITIONS
MEDIEVAL FOOD AND DRINK STORAGE
This sub-exhibition shows our visitors how food was harvested and stored in the Middle Ages. People mostly grew grains and harvested them with a sickle, while grass was cut with a scythe. Grain was flailed or worked with a stick and stored in 2-meter pits. The grains were squeezed into the pit, which was then covered by soil, and without access to air they could last multiple years. The pits were often fired with straw and its walls were strengthened with withe (branches and stems).
People also grew vegetables: peas, lentils, beans, beets, cabbage, kale, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and radishes. From the spices, mostly marjoram and cumin were used. The most commonly grown fruits were apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, and nuts. Our visitors learn about the possibilities of fruit and vegetable storage (wooden crates, ceramic pots for sauerkraut, sand for root vegetables). You can see and try replicas of medieval tools (flail, quern-stone, plough and barrow).
Alchemy reached its greatest fame during the times of Emperor Rudolph II, when Prague was considered the capital of alchemy. Because of this, it was sometimes called “the medieval Alexandria”. Apart from Rudolph II, Vilém of Rožmberk became the most famous benefactor of the “hermetic sciences” and most importantly, alchemy. The second center of hermetic sciences naturally emerged around the Rožmberk court. Well-known and unknown scholars, as well as tricksters and imposters, did their research in Prague, Třeboň, Prachatice, and especially in Český Krumlov, which is sometimes called the South Bohemian Mecca of Alchemy.
This sub-exhibition introduces period laboratory facilities and instruments.
DAILY LIFE OF NOBILITY IN GOTHIC TIMES
The life of the aristocracy in the Middle Ages wasn’t just full of battles and dance balls, but ordinary human joys and troubles as well. Our Gothic chamber demonstrates the outline and look of a nobleman’s personal space with his favorite items – clothing, weapons, and objects of daily use. Visitors can try out how a nobleman may have felt in his home, they can sit in his chair, look in his chest, touch all of the objects that people from this social class came into contact daily in medieval times, and feel the medieval atmosphere.
Visitors may also try on chain mail and weigh a sword and a shield.
DAILY LIFE OF NOBILITY IN THE RENAISSANCE
A peek into the daily life of the female part of a noble household; see what a noblewoman liked to do, how she spent her free time, and what her troubles and joys were. All this can be seen in the exhibition of the Renaissance lady’s personal space with her favorite items – clothing, perfumes, jewelry, and embroidery.
Our visitors may sit and feel the Renaissance times, see what’s hidden in old chests, try on perfumes, and learn different embroidery techniques.
HERB STORAGE AND HEALING
This sub-exhibition introduces a wide range of commonly grown herbs and how they were stored. Medieval monasteries were the bearers of civilization, culture, and knowledge; through them the awareness of healing properties of herbs was spread.
New herbs and spices native to the Mediterranean reached the regions north of the Alps through the foundations of new monasteres. Herbs and other materials are introduced through a number of herbs useful in medieval cosmetics. You can see and smell samples of local and oriental herbs from medieval times.
Our visitors may test their sense of smell and touch on interactive boards and panels, and create their own herbal oil.
THE ART OF SOAP AND CANDLE MAKING
Human skills can be observed in times long passed. Learn about the process of candle making, smell natural herbal soaps, learn about their creation, and try cleaning your hands with a soap made with sheep wool.
Our visitors may mix their own bathing salts with herbs.
This sub-exhibition shows the book culture of late medieval and early modern Europe. The spread of Bible texts and translations in national languages as well as the spread of humanistic thinking and the new human perspective according to Italian Renaissance intellectuals was made easier by the invention of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century.
Our visitors learn about the technique of printing, types of early print, and the biggest “bestsellers” of the 15th and 16th century that were very often from the very popular “demonological literature” genre.
ILLUMINATOR WORKSHOP AND STENCIL DECORATION
This sub-exhibition introduces the traditional craftwork of medieval monasteries: the scriptorium, followed by an illuminator workshop. Monastery scriptoria were exclusive producers of written materials of all kinds (legal and official documents, theological tractates, liturgies, etc.) until the beginning of the Renaissance. All period knowledge was concentrated in medieval monasteries, and the monks were often the only literate people of the society.
The next part of the exhibition introduces the phenomenon of imprinting and reproduction from the Middle Ages until 20th century with examples of medieval patterns on the walls.
You can try the stencil decoration workshop and writing with a quill and ink.
FREE TIME, TOYS, MEDIEVAL MACHINES AND INVENTIONS
This exhibition shows how people spent their free time in the Middle Ages. Games as well as period toys are available for our smallest visitors. Medieval children mostly played with toys such as horses for boys and dolls for girls, hand-made musical instruments (ratchets and jingle bells), puppets, and building kits made of natural materials.
Another common pastime was inventing and creating various interactive toys and games that people used for amusement. One of the most famous innovators of the Middle Ages was Leonardo da Vinci, whose mechanical inventions are the predecessors of modern machinery. The interactive exhibition is dedicated to toys and inventions; it also shows children and adults wooden replicas of Leonardo da Vinci’s clever ideas that were assembled according to preserved plans, sketches, and schemes.
This exhibition is barrier-free.
THE BREWERY EXHIBITION
This exhibition introduces how beer was made during medieval times and its history. In the early Middle Ages, beer was only home-brewed in small quantities. The first real breweries were established later on in monasteries. Medieval beer differed substantially from modern beer. Initially it was a very thin and only slightly fermented mash that finally developed into true ale through continuous improvements. Thick and dark beer was a very important element of nourishment. The most important ingredient for beer-brewing was hops. Hops were grown in monastery gardens and small monastery hop fields, then from the 13th century onwards, hops were also grown around cities and towns. Other important ingredients were water plus wheat or barley malt.
We can assume that beer brewing for the needs of the Krumlov nobility began from the establishment of the castle in the 13th century. The brewery and the malthouse were situated in the 4th castle courtyard next to the Cloak Bridge. Beer from wheat and barley malt was made here, as was for the Minorites, servants, and laboring vassals. Petr I of Rožmberk granted the city the “mile right” to taverns and a brewery in 1347, and in 1388 the city received the right to sell beer. By the 18th century, there were four breweries in operation.
One part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of Krumlov taverns, with tavern dishes such as goblets, beer bottles, pitchers, and archive photo-documentation of old Krumlov taverns. The next part presents malt and other ingredients for brewing beer: water, hops, yeast, and other sometimes unusual ingredients such as spices and herbs.
Apart from malt-making, our visitors can also see the different kinds of malt, the main technological phases of malt-making, and a digester with its equipment.