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Náprstek Museum (the Halánek House)

The Náprstek Museum is found in the building of the former Halánek Brewery. At first, a library of up-to-date information on scientific progress was founded. It was Prague’s best-supplied private library at the time.

The Halánek House belonged to Vojtěch Náprstek’s mother, Anna Fingerhutová, and hosted the first Czech women’s association, the American Ladies’ Club. Its establishment was initiated by Vojtěch Náprstek and his wife, Josefa Křížková Náprstková, in 1865. It organized public educational lectures, practical lessons for modern housekeepers, and events promoting equal rights for women and men. The association was co-founded by Karolina Světlá and joined by women from the majority of significant Czech families (Marie Riegrová-Palacká, Sofie Podlipská, Eliška Krásnohorská, etc.) As many as 900 women went through the Club from its inception to the violent cessation of its activities after the communist coup d’état. Its activities were resumed after 1996.

During lectures, men were not admitted to the first-floor lounge so as not to “compromise” the women attendees. However, a small window was carved high up in the door that allowed for listening to the lectures without peeking into the room.

In 1873, the Czech Industrial Museum was opened in the building. The Náprstek family dedicated all their savings to the museum’s endowment. After the death of Mr. Náprstek, Ms. Josefa Náprstková led and expanded the museum, obtaining more than 6000 specimens from Africa, America, and Asia. Josefa initiated not only a new museum building but also the building of a new street, U Dobřenských.

The Mystery of Houses: U Halánků | Czech Radio Vltava