Since 1920, Pardubice Castle has been the home of the East Bohemia Museum in Pardubice, and in 2010, the castle was declared a National Cultural Monument. The museum is run by the Pardubice Region.
THE FOUNDATION OF A MUSEUM ASSOCIATION
The first steps towards the creation of a museum in Pardubice were taken in 1880, when the statutes of the Pardubice Museum Association were approved. The association was founded by a group of local enthusiasts who wanted to preserve various items of historical and natural interest, which were increasingly coming under threat. Thanks to strong public interest and generous donations the museum’s collections grew rapidly, and within just a few years, the association had to address issues caused by a lack of suitable exhibition space.
After years of unsuccessful efforts to raise funds and find a place to build a dedicated museum building, the problem was finally solved in 1920, when the association (financially supported by the city of Pardubice and other benefactors) purchased Pardubice Castle – followed a year later by the castle at nearby Kunětická Hora.
THE MUSEUM AT THE CASTLE
The purchase of the Pardubice Castle site was a momentous decision for the museum, and it had both positive and negative impacts. None of the castle’s original furnishings had survived, so the building offered ample space for the museum’s collections – moreover situated in a very attractive environment. On the other hand, the historical value of the site placed severe limitations on the options for reconstructing the interiors to create suitable spaces for displaying the collections.
While carrying out structural alterations, the museum association discovered remnants of the original Renaissance murals and other features of great historical value. Thanks to the association’s commercial activities (leasing land and premises, running a restaurant), subsidies from local and national government, and the generosity of private benefactors, the castle and its museum collections ultimately became one of the jewels in Pardubice’s crown.