National Czech & Slovak
Museum & Library

October 10, 2013

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National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library | Faces of Freedom | Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Celebrating the Immigrant Spirit


Sitting in a living room during World War Two. Lying on a bunk in a steam ship on your way to America. Standing in Wenceslaus Square amidst shaking keys at the height of the Velvet Revolution. What did it sound like? What did it feel like?


Questions like these are being answered at “Faces of Freedom: The Czech and Slovak Journey” at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML). Rare artifacts; cutting-edge interactive displays; and exhibits on puppets, music, art and much more celebrate the immigrant spirit in everyone.


Xibitz and Lord Cultural Resources partnered with Museum staff to create this dynamic new 7,261-square-foot permanent exhibition designed to encourage visitors to reflect on their own experiences with freedom through the lens of 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.


To create a means of expressing the museum’s mission to “inspire people from every background to connect to Czech and Slovak history and culture,” the team conducted Visioning Workshops with multiple stakeholders from diverse fields. These sessions guided the development of the interpretive plan and concept design, which delve, into themes of freedom, immigration, human agency, and culture and identity. In addition to serving as the foundation of the permanent exhibition, but the plan also addressed other aspects of the museum campus, including the adjacent Czech Village, in order to ensure an integrated and cohesive visitor experience.

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