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In the period following the year 1848 Bach's absolutism suppressed the development of the individual nations of the Austrian monarchy in all ways possible. The members of the Society had participation in the busy events, Czech needs and requests originated at meetings held directly in the building of the museum and preparations for a Slavonic congress were also carried out in it. And when storms broke out gunpowder was stored in it. Cartridges were also produced there. These events resulted in a decrease in the number of members of the Society and in the placing of the director of Prague's police force, Leopold Sacher-Masoch, on the administrative committee. One of the saddest consequences was, however, the forced resignation of Frantisek Palacky from the function of agent of the Society.

Fortunately, however, the oppressive political atmosphere did not have any great effect on the collections, which grew continuously, even if more slowly, and so when the critical period had been overcome the question of the construction of a museum building began to be considered. On 21 February, 1876, after long negotiations, the Prague community decided to make a plot of land at the top of present-day Wenceslas Square available — free of charge — for the erection of a museum building. Towards the end of 1883 a limited competition for a suitable plan of the building was announced. In all 27 designs were submitted and the jury awarded the first prize to the architect Josef Schulz. Construction work was started in 1885 and completed five years later. Josef Schulz erected a monumental neo-Renaissance building which became the landmark of the square. It is 104 metres long and 74 metres wide, its height from the ramp to the top of the lightening conductor being 70 metres.

National Museum ranks Collection of tradesmen's songs

The unique collection of tradesmen's songs of the National Museum ranks among the biggest of its kind. It is founded on the compulsory copies for censorship which the management of the Prague police force presented to the Museum from 1854. It now comprises some 30,000 items, most of which date from the 18th and 19th centu­ries, when singers and shopkeepers sold them at markets in sexto and later also in octavo sizes.


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