The regional museum in Děčín prepared an exhibition entitled Sailors from the Czech lands, June 21, 2023. The picture shows a detail of the battleship Viribus Unitis.
Děčín – The Děčín Regional Museum opened the exhibition Sailors from the Czech Lands today. Its aim is to draw attention to the fact that even a country in the middle of Europe had important sailors who sailed to distant lands. Photographs, documents and awards draw attention to the stories of nobles and townspeople. The sea voyage is approximated by ship models. The director of the museum, Vlastimil Pažourek, told ČTK that he believes that, thanks to the exhibition, historians will learn about hitherto unknown exhibits connected with seafaring.
Děčín has been associated with river navigation for centuries, a permanent exhibition in the museum is devoted to it. Until now, sailors had only one room. “We wanted to recall the forgotten stories of sailors. There are still many people who had a sailor in their family. Memories of these people are passed down as rarities from generation to generation,” Pažourek said. maritime paintings painted around 1695. “For the inhabitants of the Czech lands from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, one of the few options to become a sailor was to join the Johannites and later the Knights of Malta. They mostly chose nobles there,” Pažourek said. The visitor will learn about the fates of several noblemen – sailors at the exhibition, where there is also a model of a galley.
Museum curators devoted the largest space to the Austro-Hungarian naval fleet. “Czechs were skilled technicians, that's why thousands of sailors worked in the Austrian navy. They were special types of travelers. They sailed from the Adriatic Sea to Asia. Memories of them remained in families as special things,” said the director. One of them was the commander of the military submarine Josef Holub, who sank a British destroyer during World War I, for which he received many orders from the allied powers. They are on loan from the National Technical Museum in Prague.
Those interested can take a close look at the detailed models of Zdenek Tolar's ships. There are 12 of them, a third of his collection. “We also want to draw attention to this with the exhibition, so far no institution has been found that could present it, despite the fact that these are exceptional works,” said Pažourek. The Děčín Museum does not have the space to display so many models.
Visitors will also see uniforms from different times, including uniforms of German sailors. “It may arouse controversy that we also draw attention to the sailors of fascist Germany. But at that time there were many German families living in Děčín and the boys had no choice,” noted the director.
Collecting exhibits and holding a naval exhibition in the Czech Republic was not creators simple. He believes there will be many more artifacts after the exhibition is over. For the exhibition, the museum staff prepared events in the museum for the weekend connected with the World Sailors' Day. On Saturday at 1:00 p.m., there will be a ceremonial entry of naval veterans who will march to the monument to those who died during the First World War.