Prague has close to thirty major museums, many of them opening their doors for free on state holidays. Some museums, such as Galerie Rudolfinum offer free admission year round. The granddaddy of all free-admission days is Museum Night, held every year in June.
The upcoming November 17th holiday, which marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, sees a number of exhibits and art spaces opening for free across the Czech capital, including open-air exhibits in Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle.
Great news for gallery goers but also a recipe for big crowds and long lines.
We talked to representatives from both the National Gallery and National Museum to get their insights on how to navigate and plan for free museum days. Scroll down to see a list of upcoming and year-round free museum days in the Czech capital:
Know that not every exhibit will be for free.
In certain cases, free admission doesn’t mean all-access. For instance at the buildings of the National Gallery, Karolína Pláničková, NG PR Manager tells us, “Basically all of the short- term exhibitions including Alberto Giacometti, Milan Grygar, Josef Bolf, Stanislav Sucharda, and Jitka Hanzlová will all be paid.” One exhibit that is free is Salm Modern: Dimensions of Dialogue.
Pláničková advises museum goers to, “Go to the Salm Palace and see this exhibit for free before it closes in December,” adding that large crowds are not expected there.
At the National Museum historical building, which will have free admission in honor of the Velvet Revolution from November 18-24, entry to the exhibition commemorating the anniversary is free. But access to the Tutankhamun exhibit and dome are not, according to Šárka Bukvajová, from the museum’s press department.
Plan your arrival time wisely.
If our experience from earlier visits to the National Museum tells us anything, opening time was definitely a high-traffic period with crowds thinning out later in the day. However, Pláničková actually recommends showing up at the Trade Fair Palace, always the museum’s most popular venue, early in the morning to enjoy the exhibits minus the crowds.
Consider going to a less popular venue.
Speaking of venues, Pláničková also suggests hitting up a less popular one. While the Trade Fair Palace tends to see the most foot traffic, “As we opened the new permanent exhibition of Old Masters last week in Schwarzenberg Palace, we are expecting more visitors there than usual,” she says.
If crowds are huge at the National Museum keep in mind that the New Building also has free admission (currently an exhibit on Celts is running) and the tunnel connecting the two venues will be open to the public for the first time November 18.
Here are a list of free museum days taking place on or around November 17 (we’ve also indicated year-round free admission days where possible):
The newly reopened NM does not have its permanent exhibits installed as of yet (typically it runs free admission every first Monday of the month). However, in honor of the 30th anniversary it will be open to the public for free from November 18 to 24; a special exhibit devoted to the Velvet Revolution will open and the tunnel between the New and Historical buildings will be open to the public for the first time. On November 17, video mapping will take place at 19.30 and 22.00. Read more.
The NG has has ongoing free admission days throughout the year (see here). On November 14, it will commemorate the the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the opening of its new exhibition season with free admission. It also has free admission to its collections on November 17. Read more.
Prague City Museum
On November 17th, there is free admission to the main building of the museum and at 16:00 a guided tour (in Czech) of the exhibition “November 1989 in the Streets of Prague” and “Prague 1989: the Way to Freedom.” Read more.
DOX (reduced admission)
Throughout Sunday, November 17, there will be a bonfire in the DOX courtyard and the entrance fee will be a symbolic 89 CZK for adults and 30 CZK for children, students, and seniors. It’s a great time to see the newly opened Petr Sis exhibit. Read more.
National Technical Museum (reduced admission)
The National Technical museum opens to the public for reduced admission (50 CZK) on a number of historically important days throughout the year. November 17 is no exception and the main building on Letná will be open for a sizeable discount. We recommend the newly opened exhibition “Technology in Dictatorships” an installation focused on the spy gear used during totalitarian era of1939-1989. Read more
For more exhibits related to the November 17 anniversary see here.