Exhibition marking Czech Radio’s centenary gets underway in Prague

A radio receiver used by the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk or the microphone into which the very first radio announcer spoke. These are just some of the rare exhibits that are currently on display at the National Technical Museum in Prague as part of an exhibition marking the centenary of Czech Radio.

Photo: Khalil Baalbaki,  Czech Radio

The exhibition, entitled One Hundred Years is Just the Beginning, got underway in the National Technical Museum on Prague’s Letná on Wednesday, on the eve of Czech Radio’s 100th birthday.

It presents around a thousand rare objects that tell the story of Czech public radio broadcasting, some of them dating to its earliest days, says Karel Ksandr, Director of the National Technical Museum:

Broadcasting from the tent in Kbely | Photo: Czech Radio

“It will be possible, for example, to see the torso of the famous tent from Kbely, where the first public broadcast took place in 1923. But of course the essential exhibit is the broadcasting desk from the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská Street from which the appeal for help was transmitted on 5 May 1945.”

From the right: Martina Poliaková,  René Zavoral,  Dušan Radovanovič and Václav Žmolík | Photo: Khalil Baalbaki,  Czech Radio

Martina Májíček Poliaková, one of the co-authors of the exhibition from Czech Radio, says the exhibits testify to the technological development of radio broadcasting but they also present significant events associated with Czech and Czechoslovak radio and the personalities behind them:

“Visitors can see, for example, a microphone that was used by Adolf Dobrovolný, our first radio editor, or a radio receiver used by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.”

Other exhibits include one of the oldest mass-produced superhet receivers manufactured according to a patent of French radio engineer Lucien Lévy. The Technical Museum bought the device in 1937 from the popular singer-songwriter Karel Hašler. There is also a radio receiver which was personally donated to the museum’s collections in 1939 by the great Czech inventor František Křižík.

René Melkus from the National Technical Museum says that the exhibition was designed to appeal even to people who don’t listen to radio and know nothing about radio broadcasting equipment.

Thanks to detailed information boards, they can get acquainted with all the historical devices, which include for instance a sound amplifier that resembles an old gramophone:

Photo: Khalil Baalbaki,  Czech Radio

“At the time, people had no experience of how to make sound, how to amplify it. So the object really looks like a gramophone and the whole device is four metres high. What is also interesting is that one of the founders of Czech Radio, Eduard Svoboda, brought it from Wembley in England.”

Visitors to the exhibition can also try out various radio professions for themselves. In a special studio, they can experience the whole production process from recording to editing and presenting.

The exhibition One Hundred Years is Just the Beginning will run at the National Technical Museum until the end of this year and will be accompanied by a number of special events and programmes.

Photo: Jakub Antoš,  Czech Radio
Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Josef Kaňka
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