The Center for Documentation of Collections

The Center for Documentation creates the concept of collecting and expert and scientific elaboration of documentation of archive nature and proposes its presentation. It deals with acquisitions and prepares proposals for their realization. The Center for Documentation carries out scientific research within the framework of the plan of the Museum of Decorative Arts and grants. The results of its scientific work and research are published within the Museum in collaboration with its Edition Department in accordance with the plan of the Museum’s activities.

The depositories of the Center for Documentation of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague house a number of valuable written sources as well as pictorial materials (such as project documentation, sets of photographs, drawings and designs of objects) for the study of arts and crafts of the total volume over 250 meters.

The basic fund consists of all documentation about scientific, research, exhibition and editorial activities of the Museum since its founding by the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in 1885 up to the present. The Center for Documentation also collects and administers materials obtained from other originators, in particular by means of purchase or donation. The emphasis is laid mainly on the estates of artists, theoreticians and collectors connected with the Museum of Decorative Arts and the history of arts and crafts. To name but a few, let us mention personal funds of art historians such as Karel Herain (1890—1953) and Emanuel Poche (1903—1987) or artists such as Helena Johnová (1884—1962), Josef Drahoňovský (1877—1938) and Karel Štipl (1899—1972). Highly interesting is the estate of Milada Müllerová (donation of her daughter Eva Maternová), consisting not only of period correspondence and newspaper articles, but also of unique historical photographs, construction drawings and sketches of the famous villa by architect Adolf Loos in Prague-Střešovice. In addition to the estates, other autonomous funds are maintained such as a part of the archives of the Institute of Interior Design and Fashion (ÚBOK), the Center of Arts and Crafts and the prominent glassmaking company Lobmeyr. Worthy of note is the complete project documentation of the building of the Museum of Decorative Arts by its architect Josef Schulz (1840—1917) and a set of plans for the completion of the Museum building from the years 1940—1941.

Letter of Ladislav Sutnar to the Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts Karel Herain