Face masks being readied for display at the National Museum / via Facebook

Prague’s National Museum to launch exhibit of DIY face masks from Czech public

The coronavirus pandemic isn't over yet, but the National Musuem is already looking back at DIY face masks

The present is quickly becoming history. The National Museum’s main building on Wenceslas Square on May 25 launches an exhibition of homemade face masks made to combat the current coronavirus pandemic. And museum visitors will still be required to wear masks when they visit the exhibition, as it is indoors.

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“In the complex of the National Museum we are installing a new exhibition We Hold Together (Držíme spolu), which deals with the phenomenon of recent months — face masks! Come and see how Czech ingenuity coped with the coronavirus period,” the National Museum said on Facebook.

The museum chose the mask from hundreds that were sent in by the public. Some on display include one based on the Czech national flag and others using traditional Slavic folk patterns all the way to psychedelic designs.

While the coronavirus is still with us and the exhibition might seem a bit soon, the National Museum will be preserving these masks and other items related to the pandemic for future generations to show how the Czech people came together in a time of crisis.

Face coverings first became required as of March 17 for use on Prague’s public transit, and the next day they were required at workplaces including shops and stores, health and social facilities, headquarters of public authorities and other premises. On March 19 they were required at all times when outside the home.

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Masks were in short supply, though, which forced people to have to make their own or get ones from people who were sewing masks from cotton cloth. This led to the development of online social platforms for sharing masks, as free movement of people was also restricted for non-essential trips, and clothing shops were closed.

An exception was even made to allow shops that sold bulk cloth to reopen so people could get supplies to make DIY masks.

The face mask requirement was later eased to allow people to jog or ride bicycles without masks in places where they would be two meters from other people. As of May 25, the masks will no longer be required outdoors, but still need to use them indoors where people congregate, including public transportation vehicles, shops and malls, cinemas, theaters, and other spaces.

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May 25 also marks the last major step in reopening the Czech Republic’s businesses, but the coronavirus crisis is still far from over and some restrictions such as crowd size are still in place. The National Museum has been open with limited crowd capacity since May 11.

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