About the exhibition
Death – an exceptional exhibition about life is the highlight of the exhibition cycle of the same name. On the one hand death is rather forced to the edge of the social consciousness, on the other hand it is often played down in popular culture, in the action movies or computer games. It was one of the reasons why this exhibition was prepared: to remind people of all the other images and aspects of death.
The exhibition starts with the chapter Life and Death in the History of the Earth, where it follows the traces of the origins of life in the oldest times that are revived by the paleontological exhibits. It also introduces death as a part of the biological processes because the cycle of nature is endless.
The next chapter called Burying has got a crystal clear motto: “What we were, you are; what we are, you will be.” This part presents the culture of burying and all that is related to this topic. The time line follows the reconstructions of the individual types of graves, including the grave goods. For example there is the complex find of a chamber grave from the Late Stone Age in Velvary or the Egyptian mummy of a child.
What could be the Images of Death? The exhibition names a lot of them – wars, executions, poisoning, terminal diseases and epidemics, murders and suicides. Not only the execution sword from 1720, the guillotine, the noose but also the various anthropological exhibits show us what the images of death could be.
The last chapter, which ends the imaginary story of our exhibition, is called Dealing with Death and Funeral Rituals. The historical summary of the care for the ill and dying and their preparation for death, or rather their reconciliation with this world, are presented mainly by various testaments and graphics. The rituals related to dying, death and burying are similar in various cultures and various religions. At first the dead is separated from the world of the living, then the last goodbye takes place and then there is the process of getting reconciled to the irretrievability of the departure of a close person and finally remembering. The visceral vessel of Maximillian II, or the funeral garments, crosses, death registers, funeral hearses, coffins, mourning clothes, liturgical books and songs as well as other objects remind is of this grievous process.
The National Museum brings up the topic of death and presents it to the public in such a way that people can think about it seriously. The aim of the exhibition is to use the topic and reveal the fact that death in fact is an inseparable and inevitable part of life.