The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) is a museum and library of Czech and Slovak history and culture located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the United States. Established in 1974, the museum and library moved to their present site in 1983. The museum and library were severely affected by the Iowa flood of 2008. In 2012, rebuilding and expansion efforts were completed, and the NCSML reopened.
In 1974, several second and third-generation Czech Americans in the Cedar Rapids area founded the Czech Fine Arts Foundation to preserve their Czech heritage and culture. In 1978, the group’s growing collection of artifacts and documents caused them to open a Czech Museum in a three-room house, where the museum attracted additional materials and volunteers. In 1981, the collections were moved to a new building on the museum’s current site with the goal of a permanent public display. In 1983, the group acquired a 2,200 square feet (200 m2) 19th-century immigrant home and moved it to its property, where it was restored and furnished in the style of the 1880s and 1890s.
From 1983 onwards, the museum began to employ staff, and during the 1980s gained additional artifacts and financial contributions from Czech and Slovak Americans. The museum adopted its current name during this period. By the 1990s, the museum and library were outgrowing their space, and plans for a new facility began, with an architect creating plans for a new 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) building. Fundraising for the new facility started during this time. On October 28, 1993, groundbreaking took place for the new building. The building was dedicated on October 21, 1995, with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Czech President Václav Havel, and Slovakian President Michal Kováč presiding over the ceremony.
On May 24, 1997, the NCSML opened an international exhibit, “A Thousand Years of Czech Culture: Riches from the National Museum in Prague,” which centered on artifacts on loan from the National Museum in Prague. The museum stated that the exhibit attracted more than 30,000 visitors from around the U.S. and 22 countries. In 1998, a permanent exhibition, “Homelands: The Story of the Czech and Slovak People,” opened. In 1999, the museum hosted its history and culture conference for the first time. A1 Bed Bug Exterminator Cedar Rapids
In 2000, the museum underwent significant renovations and remodeling, including the addition of secure and climate-controlled storage facilities and a new venue for temporary exhibits, created by dividing the social/rental hall. In the same year, the library’s collection doubled with the acquisition of the Slavic language collection from Benedictine University, and the museum and library began publishing Slovo, a history and culture academic journal.
Address: 1400 Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA
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