History – perpetual relocation
The museum in Usti was founded in 1876 and the first exposition was opened in “Zlata lod” hotel (Golden Ship) in Hrncirska street (what is today “Na Predmosti” restaurant). However, already in a few weeks the museum had to be moved elsewhere and then again…; during the first ten years it was moved eight times. The number of collection items and the reputation of the museum were growing and a dedicated museum building was becoming a necessity. In 1914 the municipality approved the building of a new town museum in Palachova street, near the Municipal park.
However, the First World War wrecked this intent and in the post-war plight salvation was seen in the honourable gesture of the prominent Wolfrum family, Usti’s industrial entrepreneurs, to donate the Trmice chateau for the museum’s needs. Nor the aristocratic seat became a permanent home of the museum. On the one hand it soon was not sufficient for the museum’s needs and, moreover, the long-time absence of any maintenance brought the chateau to the brink of total devastation in the 60’s. In 1971 there came another promise of a new specialized building of the municipal museum, to be erected in the Mirove square.
Again, however, a makeshift solution was preferred and in 1972 the museum workers moved to a neo-Renaissance school building next to the theatre. At first they lived together in the same building with pupils, later the former classrooms were occupied by the central post office. The museum merely played the role of a tolerated tenant. When the post office moved out at the end of the 20th century, a new question arose as to how to utilize the historic structure. Finally, there came a chance to set up a worthy municipal museum and with it a presage of yet another moving, hopefully the last one. For a short term the museum moved into provisional premises and in 2009-2011 a general reconstruction of the museum building was carried out by dint of a European subvention. The new museum was opened to public in a ceremony in June of 2011.
What is to be found in the Usti museum?
Currently the Municipal Museum of Usti nad Labem administers approximately 200,000 filing numbers of museum collection items and their files. It is responsible for circa 60,000 book units in the professional museum library, which also accounts for approximately 2,000 volumes of old printed matters and manuscripts.
Among the largest sets are the collections of natural science, which originate as early as at the end of the 19th century. They contain numerous and significant files documenting in particular the nature of North-Western Bohemia, Bohemian Central Uplands and the Ore Mountains. There is also a herbarium, entomological files are particularly ample, there are attractive zoological collections with numerous interesting specimens. The historical collections contain for example tens of thousands of photographs, negatives, lantern slides or postcards. There are also military collections, for example an extraordinary collection of weapons and military material from the period around 1813 when the battle of Kulm took place near Usti. In regards to the industrial character of the region the technical collections are ample. Fine arts and handicrafts are represented by historical furniture, glass, collection of late Gothic xylography or landscape painting of the 19th and 20th century.