The joint exhibition of the National Technical Museum and Czech Radio stories the 100-year radio history

17. květen 2023

The National Technical Museum and Czech Radio have prepared the "One Hundred Years is Just the Beginning. Czech Radio 1923-2023" exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of radio broadcasting in the Czech Republic. It depicts Czech Radio's technical and programmatic development and its modern public service medium role. The project commemorates not only radio personalities, events, broadcasting programme and music, but also production, transmission and technology development.

"I am very pleased that for the centennial of Czech Radio, our country’s prominent and oldest public service medium, we will together present the radio institution’s history, vision, present day form and technology to visitors of the National Technical Museum in an extraordinary exhibition. The radio collection of the museum was further enriched by important personalities of Czech culture and industry. The exhibition will feature, for example, one of the oldest mass-produced receivers in superheterodyne circuitry, manufactured according to a patent by Lucien Lévy. The Technical Museum bought this device in 1937 from the popular singer-songwriter Karel Hašler. Another unique artefact is a receiver personally donated to the museum's collections by engineer František Křižík in 1939. I would like to thank Czech Radio for this opportunity to participate in its anniversary celebrations and for its excellent cooperation," said Karel Ksandr, Director General of the National Technical Museum.

"I am delighted that Czech Radio, in cooperation with the National Technical Museum, has succeeded in organizing an extensive exhibition to mark our important anniversary, which will showcase 100 years of radio history to the general public. The exhibition will guide visitors through the history of radio technology and, via audio of plays, programmes and concerts by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, will also immerse them into the diverse radio production of the past century. The exhibition will also be accessible to our regular listeners, as the Czech Radio Dvojka station will broadcast directly from the exhibition on 17 May, when it will open to the public. Listeners of the Czech Radio Radiožurnál station will be able to experience the exhibition with Lucie Výborná and her special guests," said René Zavoral, Director General of Czech Radio.

Alongside the historical display of production, transmission and broadcasting equipment in the exhibition, there are also stories recalling the rich century of quality radio programming, significant events connected with Czech or Czechoslovak Radio, and significant radio personalities. Through various forms of listening, visitors can intimately experience the diversity of radio production over the past century. However, the exhibition does not forget to highlight what radio is today – it presents current trends and forms of content consumption, as well as modes of reception and distribution.

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"We conceived the exhibition as a retrospective. The years 1923 and 2023 are linked on an imaginary timeline by successive sections lined with significant historical milestones in which Czech Radio played a key role. In this section, our story unfolds, which we have assembled through the rich museum collections into a mosaic in which historical and contemporary receivers are arranged in a manner reminiscent of the shop windows of high-end department stores. Contrasting this presentation are the sturdy constructions of radio transmitters, which have been reassembled to their original monumentality and grandeur after many years of resting in storage. The connecting element of both are the studio instruments – tape recorders, turntables, microphones and, of course, the indispensable mixing consoles," René Melkus, author and curator of the NTM, described the exhibition.

"The central motif of the entire exhibition is the attempt to link the history of radio and radio technology with modern forms of production and distribution. As a visitor, you can try recording a radio play or an interview with a presenter, learn about the advantages of modern DAB+ distribution and find out more about the online application mujRozhlas. Czech Radio maintains its century-old tradition of being a modern, responsive and up-to-date media and performs a public service for everyone, anytime and anywhere. We want to underscore this mission with the exhibition," said Martina Poliaková from the Strategic Development Department, head of the exhibition's organization team for Czech Radio.

Historical pieces from the collection of the National Technical Museum, supplemented by a selection of sounds, photographs, artefacts and historical information from Czech Radio, will guide visitors through seven periods of radio history. On display are rare pieces from the NTM collection, such as a newly restored transmitter, type SFR MD 50 of French provenance, launched in early 1925 in Prague's Strašnice, which brought joy to the first listeners of Czechoslovak Radio. Many of the objects presented in the exhibition are evidence of technical development, but they also have value linked to historical milestones, such as the mixing console from which the call for help sounded during the Prague Uprising of May 1945.

Archival recordings of Czech Radio will be brought to life for visitors under so-called audio showers, showcasing several genres – such as sports moments, political events, dramatic works and fairy tales for children. Further audio via QR code echo period photographs and accompanying information, and other programmes are available for listening via visitors’ own headphones and the mujRozhlas app. Twice an hour, the entire exhibition space resounds with radio content for collective listening, and then in a special dark room, immersive sound arrangements expose visitors to the world of sound.

One dominant element of the exhibition hall is a data sculpture based on a mathematical visualization of the organizational structure of Czech Radio today. Other visual elements include lighting effects, video installations and original exhibition graphics.

Another extraordinary element is a fully functional broadcasting workstation located in the museum building. During the entire exhibition, live broadcasts of programmes from selected Czech Radio stations are planned from this spot.

An educational corner is prepared for the curious and youngest visitors. Furthermore, the exhibition will be accompanied by a rich programme for the public and a regular educational programme for school visits. The first public event will be a programme on 1 June, International Children's Day, during which Czech Radio’s child station Radio Junior will broadcast live from the museum. In the afternoon, a playful route will be prepared for children visitors with the theme “Become a radio reporter”.

The exhibition was created thanks to a unique cooperation between the teams of the National Technical Museum and Czech Radio.

The exhibition opens today, 17 May, and runs until the end of the year, 31 December 2023.

For a perfect experience, take your headphones with you!

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