Celebrating the Immigrant Spirit in All of Us


National Czech & Slovak Museum

& Library Faces of Freedom

 

The new exhibition Faces of Freedom: The Czech and Slovak Journey at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) includes rare artifacts, cutting-edge interactive displays and engaging exhibits celebrating the immigrant spirit in everyone.

 

But it almost didn’t happen. While a museum expansion was in the planning stages, a devastating flood severely damaged its campus and caused extensive destruction of its exhibits and artifacts.

 

In the aftermath of tragedy came opportunity for renewal. NCSML partnered with Xibitz and Lord Cultural Resources to create a visionary model for recovery and growth. The Xibitz and Lord teams collaborated on a design/build initiative to create a 7,200 square foot permanent exhibition telling the story of the Czech and Slovak people.

 

[For nearly 150 years, a Czech community has thrived in
south Cedar Rapids.
]

 

This museum represents and tells the story of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their history. It is a symbol of the courage and vision of Czechs and Slovaks around the world and it will be the symbol of rebirth for Cedar Rapids.

—Gail Naughton, President and CEO

 

[NCSML tells the story of
the Czech and Slovak people.

From old-world tribes, to the formation of the modern-day Czech and Slovak Republics, to the immigration stories of those who left their native land for opportunities in America.]

 

X: on this project:

Lead Firm, Xibitz

 Interpretive Planning

Conceptual & Detail Design

Graphic Design

Production & Installation

Financial Management

Focus Sessions

Content Development

Project Management

Facility Interface Coordination

Contractor Coordination

Sub-consultant Coordination

Construction Drawings

Artifact Mounting

Lighting Design

AV/Multimedia & Electrical Integration

 

    Let’s Talk

 

Enter a darkened room where you hear a murmur of voices. Six spotlighted figures are speaking to you in low tones. As you approach each, you hear a unique and heartfelt personal story of living in Czech or Slovak lands, and of coming to America.

 

A reproduction of an immigrant ocean vessel large enough to accommodate a school group immerses visitors in the ambient sounds of ship life—constant engine noise—the metallic clank of a bulkhead— occasional overheard conversations.

 

Traditional costumes called Kroje are brought to life on a carousel, offering visitors a unique way to view these costumes, while visitor–selected traditional and modern Czech & Slovak music plays.