The atmosphere of the 19th and 20th centuries, when owner of the Konopiště estate was Franz Ferdinand of Austria, is to be re-enacted for Benesov’s Museum Night on 23 May. This popular festival has become a part of the commemorative events for the 100th anniversary of the Sarajevo assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie of Hohenberg, and the start of World War One. As well as exhibitions and guided tours, also on offer will be tastings of Franz Ferdinand’s favourite foods, and you will also be able to try on period clothing.
The programme begins at 3 pm in Masarykovo náměstí in Benešov with a Gotthart Kuppel happening entitled ‘Košile’ (Shirt). 15 minutes later, Ing. P Mareš of the Friends of Konopiště Society’s outdoor panel exhibition will open here, implemented jointly with the town of Benešov and entitled ‘Sarajevo Assassination – the questions haven’t gone away…’.This aims to answer the questions, which are still today raised by the series of coincidences which preceded the tragic death of the successor to the Austrian throne: Why was it Franz Ferdinand who became the target for assassination? Was his journey necessary? Was Bosnia and Herzegovina really such a ‘hotbed’? The exhibition is being held until 10 August. The programme will also include a performance by Josef Suk Benešov music school.
At 4 pm, the exhibition ‘Speaking about the War’ will begin in front of the Museum of Art and Design on Malé náměstí, which has been prepared by Czech, Bosnian, Austrian and German artists on the topic of the First World War. Using current artistic means, they respond to the questions of how this tragic event could have happened, what feelings and hopes the people had at the time, how their lives, feelings and thoughts changed during the war, and what importance this has today. Exhibited will be Alena Anderlová, Rosa Jaisli, Gotthart Kuppel, Isabel Pauer, Tilman Rothermel, Laila Seidel and Anette Venzlaff. The opening will also include a performance by Isabel Pauer ‘1913–2013 Searching for the Past’.
In the Museum of Art and Design’s Śíma Hall, the exhibition ‘Court Photographer’ will be opened at 4:30 pm, which pays tribute to the Archduke through the photos of Rudolf Bruner-Dvořák – ‘Franz Ferdinand of Austria’s photographer’. He was a pioneer of photo reporting, and often accompanied the heir to the throne at hunts, manoeuvres and social events in St Moritz and took photos of his family. The exhibition has been arranged by Pavel Scheufler. As part of the opening, there will be a dance and acrobatics performance by students of the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts and the group, EBS, entitled ‘Episodes from life’.
At 5 pm in Radniční sklípek, the opening of the ‘Life of the Konopiště Lords in photographs’ exhibition will take place. Through unique period photographs from private collections and archives, many of which have never before been published, the exhibition gives a picture of the private life of Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his family. The exhibition has been arranged by Lukáš Pavlík of the Friends of Konopiště Society in collaboration with the Town of Benešov. It is to be held until 7 July.
The Museum of the Podblanicko Region on Malé náměstí opens its exhibition, ‘Dolls and toys in the early 20th century’ at 6 pm, which looks at the world of children, children’s toys and games during the first third of the 20th century. The exhibition runs until 30 August. During the evening, there will also be a guided tour of the renewed and extended exhibition, ‘102nd Regiment’. The Archduke Night in the museum will be even more attractive with tastings of the Archduke’s favourite foods, and you will also be able to try on period clothes.
As part of Museum Night, Konopiště Castle will also be open. Visitors will be able to take an unconventional tour of the passions, hobbies and happy family life of Franz Ferdinand of Austria, offered free of charge and accompanied by contemporaries of the last owner of the castle. You must reserve castle tours in advance at tel.: 317 721 366, 602 349 068 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. During the evening, the Castle restaurant in the castle courtyard will be open. Reservations are also required for a night train ride from Benešov to Konopiště, by calling tel.: 724 034 713.
Ferdinand Brewery is also commemorating its founder on 23 May by invited visitors for a free tour. You must book this in advance, however, on tel.: 724 958 755.
Concurrently with Museum Night, Church Night is also taking place on the same day throughout the Czech Republic, and Benešov’s churchs and institutions operating in the town are also involved in this.
Further information: Soňa Vanhoecke, Town of Benešov spokesperson, e-mail: email@example.com, tel: 734 173 371
Joint organisers: Posázaví o. p. s., Konopiště Castle, Benešov Museum of Art and Design, Muzeum of the Podblanicko Region, Ferdinand Brewery, Friends of Konopiště Society, Cultural and Information Centre, p. o., Friends of Chvojen Society o. s., Konopiště Bear o. s.
General partners: Danone, a. s., Mavel, a. s., Rádio BLANÍK, QUO, s. r. o.
Other partners: Česká spořitelna, a. s., Jasa, s. r. o., Kooperativa pojišťovna, a. s., Pinko, a. s., Sellier a Bellot, a. s., VHS Benešov, s. r. o.
Media partners: The Association of Czech Museums and Galleries, Czech Radio, Jiskra, Rádio BLANÍK, www.velkavalka.cz