Muzeum a archiv populární hudby

(občanské sdružení)

sídlo a stálá expozice s informačním centrem:

Muzeum a archiv populární hudby


Kaštan, Bělohorská 201/150
169 00 Praha 6 - Břevnov
tel: +420 605 369 286

bankovní spojení:

ČSOB, pobočka Praha - Perla
Perlová 5
číslo účtu:
134 853 236 / 0300

IČO: 68405596
nejsme plátci DPH

alternativní výstavní prostora

galerie v hudebním klubu Vagon
Palác Metro, Národní 25
110 00 Praha 1


areál Přírodovědeckého muzea
Cirkusová ulice
190 00 Praha 9 - Horní Počernice

pobočka Brno:

Pop Museum - archiv
Štefánikova 8
602 00 Brno
+420 723 983 119

osobní kontakty (Praha):

Aleš Opekar:
 +420 776 141 531

Radek Diestler:
 +420 776 141 532

Lexa Guha:
 +420 736 531 352

Petr Hrabalik:
 +420 224.934.524

osobní kontakty (Brno):

Josef Kytnar:
 +420 723 983 119

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Whai is Popmuseum?
History of Popmuseum



The Popmuseum is a shorter version for The Museum and Archive of Popular Music association and its main project - the permanent exhibition and an information centre in Prague. It was established by a voluntary independent association of citizens, united by their shared interest in Czech and Slovak popular music and in material illustrating its history, including audio, written, visual and audio-visual records, as well as other documents. It is a legal entity, registered since 10 November 1998 by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic. Its aim is to initiate and support the establishment of a museum and archive of the popular music as a state institution. Such institution does not exist in the Czech Republic and the Popmuseum endeavours to develop activities that should – at least partly – substitute its functions.


and what it offers?


We run a depository in Prague - Horní Počernice, where we gather and archive written documents, recordings and audio-visual records, musical instruments and apparatus connected with the development of popular music, as well as estates and memorabilia related to various important personalities or events in Czech and Slovak popular music. The archived material serves as a source basis for studies and research and as a depository from which to draw exhibition displays. We approach popular music in its full breadth without regard to style, genre, or time period. Construction of the archive is an on-going activity and its development is dependent on received grants.

We also have a Moravian branch - Poparchiv in Brno, where an electronic archive is emerging and where - for example – vinyl records and covers are deposited.



We provide an information service for the professional and wider public. In our main space in the Kaštan cultural centre we offer databases, specialised magazines and literature. We answer queries concerning the history of Czechoslovak popular music. Our archive centre contains a wide range of historical recordings and audio-visual documents to see and listen to.

We receive visits from Czech and foreign journalists, students, and researchers studying or investigating a certain period in the history of popular music, as well as from curators, preparing exhibitions with themes linked with popular music.



In the Popmuseum you can view a permanent exhibition of musical intruments, focussing on electric guitars of Czechoslovakian make and a selection of keyboard instruments used in the former Czechoslovakia.

Other areas of the exhibition space are dedicated to the temporary thematic exhibitions which often expand to other spaces within the Kaštan cultural centre such as the entrance hall, staircase walls, and the bar on the 1st floor.

We also organise other temporary exhibitions in Prague - e.g. in our own alternative gallery in the Vagon music club, and the Municipal Library - but also in other places within the Czech Republic.



We offer various interactive activities using musical software, for example allowing you to test your composing talent, experience the work of a sound engineer, and mix the tracks of a recording. You can also try out real electric musical instruments or sing karaoke-style into a microphone along with a pre-recorded backing track.

We also organise concerts and projections for you, either in the Kaštan cultural centre or at the Vagon music club.



at the beginning was “Bigbít”

The civic association entitled, The Museum and Archive of Popular Music was set up on 6 November 1998 in the wine bar U Sudu in Prague 1 by Aleš Opekar, Petr Hrabalik, Radek Diestler and, after a telephonic consultation, also Josef Kytnar from Brno was included. The Ministry of the Interior registered the new association on 10 November 1998. By the end of 1999 the association had about twenty members and was striving to find suitable space to house the permanent exhibition in Prague. They started assembling an archive, the basis of which consisted of materials collected in the 2nd half of the 1990s during the preparatory work for the Czech TV series which was entitled “Bigbít” (bigbeat) and depicted the history of Czechoslovak rock music.

Popmuseum acquired support and grants from the project “Prague – European City of Culture 2000”, from City of Prague, Metropolitan District of Prague 1, Czech Music Fund, OSA (The Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), and other institutions. The museum was open to the public by the end of March 2000: the first exhibition in Prague 1 in Besední ulice no. 3, in spaces of former Janáčkova Hall was entitled “BIGBÍT”. The exhibition and the whole interior including the furniture had an imprint of the architect David Vávra, who designed it in the spirit of so-called Brussels style from the turn of the 1950s.

The exhibits were presenting the history of Czechoslovak rock music from 1956 to 1972. The spectator could see here e.g. a collection of record covers, the manuscripts of Pavel Bobek or Karel Kryl, the baritone saxophone of Jan Spálený, the guitars of Radim Hladík or Pavol Hammel, a number of photographs, written documents, and a selection of recordings or audio-visual samples of those periods. The collection was supplemented by the period radio and television receivers, gramophones, tape recorders or even “wire-phone”. The visitors were allowed to play selected historical instruments, using the stylish period apparatus.

After the spectacular opening, featuring, for instance, Vladimír Mišík as a performer, the exhibition was open to the public six days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The project was attractive by its novelty and originality.

In the following periods of 2001 and 2002, the functioning of the museum stabilised in proportions adequate to the standard demand of the public. The exhibition was open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and any time on individual request. The visitors included the Czechs (a typical visitor was a parent – an eyewitness with his offspring – and the parent himself became the guide to the exhibition, explaining all the details and circumstances of each era), but also foreigners, who were usually younger people with wider cultural interests. There were also frequent visits of large groups of school pupils or pensioners accompanied by a guide.


the impact of the floods

In August 2002 the Popmuseum was hit by the disastrous floods. The water filled the basement part of the exhibition up to the ceiling and the ground-floor part of the exhibition including the depository approximately up to 3/4 of its height. The staff managed to save all the musical instruments and the contents of the exhibition showcases with the most important documents. The heavier technical apparatus was at least put on the top of the table or on the top of the showcases. The objects that were placed on the table were damaged by the water, whereas the ones in the showcases suffered only from the dampness. The water destroyed the entire sound system including the two most precious historical amplifiers and their attachments. All the decorative elements were ruined, as were the costumed wire figures, all the historical radio and television receivers, the majority of which was built in the walls, and the showcases with the complete collection of record covers.

In the depository, the stored apparatus were submerged, as well as the sound media and complete collections, including the precious estates of the singer Inka Zemánková or the voice coach Leo Jehne. In the office all the furniture and the collection of books and magazines were damaged, including the recently acquired estate of the music publicist and historian Karel Knechtl and even the documents concerning the history of the civic association – letters, newspaper cuttings and accounting books were destroyed.

All the remaining property was transported to Horní Počernice, where we were granted a refuge by the National Museum. In the grounds of the Museum of Natural History we have a dry, heated and air-conditioned depository, where all the objects and documents were gradually dried up, sorted out, restored and re-registered. Most of the objects and documents that were on loan were returned to their owners after restoration. Part of the collection (concretely the vinyl records and covers, photographs etc.) had to be taken to Brno for the professional restoration and careful placement into the depository in the Stará pekárna (Old Bakery) complex in Štefánikova Street. The “flood grant” received from the City of Prague meant a great help for the gradual restoration of the damaged apparatus.

The building in Besední Street was out of operation for a whole year. It was clear then that such precious museum collections should not be kept and displayed in risky places like this one, where, even before the floods, we could mark the adverse consequences of dampness. We were forced to relinquish the otherwise favourable and advantageous locality of Kampa and started searching for a new space.


concerts in the Vagon club

Firstly we had to decide where to hold our music activities. We did not want to cancel the shows already arranged for the autumn of 2002, and so we started close cooperation with the Vagon music club on Národní Street.

As early as 8 September a concert by the Slovak organist and composer Marian Varga took place there and it was very successful. We agreed on other arrangements and opened negotiations about building up a small gallery in the central part of this club and about the possibility of the audio-visual projections of historical documentaries on the screen at the back part of the club.

As part of our concert season autumn 2002, these concerts took place in the Vagon club:

  • 20 October 2002, Jan Kořínek and the group Groove with the blues singer Sharon Lewis from Chicago
  • 25 November 2002 two legends of the Czech bigbeat, living in exile, GK Brothers and Ruchadze Band
  • 20 and 21 December 2002 the group Ten Years After from Britain, famous at the turn of the 1960s. They came in the almost original composition.
  • 28 December 2002 REVIVAL FESTIVAL, one-day show of the young Czech groups, which perform the repertoire of the historically important world musicians, such as Led Zeppelin, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin (with a bit of exaggeration we called it an "educational concert").

The organisation of the concerts was shared with Pohyblivý klub Joe´s Garage (the Shifting Club Joe´s Garage), which we also worked with in 2003:

  • 5 March 2003 Marian Varga, second solo piano recital, this time in Lucerna Music Bar
  • 10 April 2003 Tarantule, unique performance of the occasional improvising group of the rock veterans - Petr Janda, George Kozel and J. E. Šedivý and Josef Skrzek from Poland (known from the group SBB)
  • 23 April 2003 Peter Lipa Band, launching ceremony of their new album
  • 6 June 2003 David Knopfler Band, concert of the founder of the legendary group from the turn of the 1970s, Dire Straits, again in Lucerna Music Bar
  • 25 October 2003 DOUBLE ENERGY, double concert of the groups Žáha and Laura a její tygři, the Vagon club
  • 17 November 2003 Peter Lipa and Luboš Andršt Blues Band, launching ceremony of a new album, the Vagon club
  • 18 November 2003 Stan the Man Bohemian Blues Band, launching ceremony of their new album, the Vagon club
  • 23 November 2003 Colosseum, concert of a British jazz-rock and blues-rock legend, Lucerna Music Bar
  • 29 December 2003 ZAPPARTY, the get-together of fans of Frank Zappa, audio-visual projection and concert of Frank Zappa Quartet – a group from Zlín


exhibitions in the Vagon club

We wanted to restart our exhibition activities in a new and innovative style. The standard galleries or museums only exceptionally arrange concerts and the standard concert agencies usually don’t prepare exhibitions. Popmuseum embraced both activities and decided to organise exhibitions to accompany selected concerts. We designed and produced a new set of exhibition showcases and their lighting for the central part of the Vagon club, which is distant enough from the stage and thus visually and acoustically gives the impression of a relatively independent space, which could be conceived as a small gallery. This central part is extended by the dark rear part, where a screen and a projector are installed. Thus the exhibition can be accompanied by the audio-visual projections, or, as the case may be, these projections can be run independently of the exhibition. From October 2003, Popmuseum projected recordings from its archive every Thursday after midnight (called “Popůlnoční projekce Popmusea”) and the openings of exhibitions and concerts, to which the exhibitions were related were animated by projections.

The character of the Popmuseum exhibitions in the Vagon club was mainly documentary, or more precisely educational and popularising. The artistic intention and effect was not in the first plan of the exhibition’s dramaturgy. In other words the main criterion for the selection of an artefact was not its current artistic value, but rather its historical value, its testifying and documentary capability. We were also displaying period photographs, posters, brochures, invitations, copies of interesting period magazine articles, and small 3-D objects (like a case for an instrument, a book or a CD).

The first show of this kind we called DOUBLE ENERGY. Two stages were built opposite each other and the two groups playing on them - Laura a její tygři and Žáha – were competing for the favour of the audience. Half way between the two stages, our gallery was open with the exhibition concerning the histories of the two groups.

Another exhibition followed the history of the Blues Band and solo activities of the group’s performers - Peter Lipa and Luboš Andršt, and yet another one focused on the American artist Frank Zappa, whose work had a great impact and response in Czechoslovakia not only among listeners, but among artists, too. The major part of the exhibition concerned the two visits of Frank Zappa in Prague at the beginning of the 1990s.

other activities

In the course of 2004 we joined in the nationwide project called Czech Music 2004, in the frame of which we organised the chief event to commemorate the Czech singer-songwriter Karel Kryl. We were asked by the National Museum to cooperate on the solving of the entrance hall to the Czech Museum of Music in Karmelitská Street. We cooperated on the exhibition on rock music and alternative visual culture of the 60´s "The Pope Smoked Dope", organised by Zdeněk Primus. We launched exhibitions in the Municipal Library in connection with the series “The Rebelling Ladies of Czech Music”. We also prepared a show outside Prague. In collaboration with the Czech Television, we are setting up an internet database, connected with the television series “Bigbít”, and together with the Brno music cafe Stará pekárna we participated on some of the releases of television programmes “Blues from Stará pekárna” and “A Solo for …”.

  • Until 29 February 2004 the Vagon club was displaying the show Frank Zappa in Prague
  • 2 March – 31 May 2004, the Vagon club held the exhibition Karel Kryl 1944 - 1994 - 2004 (in cooperation with the Club of Karel Kryl and Mrs. Marlen Kryl), on the day of the opening, a conference was held there, which focused on all the programmes concerning Karel Kryl within the frame of Czech Music 2004
  • 12 April 2004, the Vagon club, Resurrection of Karel Kryl, a concert accompanying the exhibition Karel Kryl 1944 - 1994 - 2004. Twelve ensembles performed their interpretations of songs by Karel Kryl. The concert was very rich in the variety of genre and style and presented some very gripping and viable approaches (Jablkoň, Kamil Jasmín Band), some less interesting, but well meant ones.
  • 24 June – 15 October 2004, the Vagon club, Feasts of the Forbidden Fruit (February – August 1990), an exhibition about the first concerts of the big foreign stars after 1989 in Czechoslovakia
  • 23 October – 31 December 2004, the Vagon club, 30 years of Extempore, exhibition about the legend of the Czech alternative scene
  • 23 October 2004, the Vagon club, concert by the various historical compositions of the group Extempore
  • April - December 2004 – displays in the vestibule of the large hall of the Municipal Library in Prague, related to the concert cycle “The Rebelling Ladies of Czech Music” (Ester Kočičková, Jana Koubková, Dagmar Andrtová, Katka Šarközi, Pavla Milcová, Sestry Steinovy, Pavla Kapitánová, Kaprálová quartet, Zuzana Michnová)
  • March and April 2004, cultural centre “Rozkrok” in Varnsdorf, “Magic Nights 1968-04”, exhibition about Milan Hlavsa and the Czech underground
  • From November 2004, the Czech Museum of Music in Karmelitská Street in Prague 1, realisation of the entrance hall to the exhibition “Man – Music – Instrument" - historical audio-visual projections, display of selected musical instruments (in collaboration with Milan Cais and Tomáš Veselý)
  • 1 December 2004 – 15 January 2005 Interesting Times, the Kaštan cultural centre, an exhibition about Czech noncommercial music after 1989 (in cooperation with Unijazz on the occasion of the release of the special issue of the Uni magazine)
  • 27 December 2004 blues concert in the Kuře music club in the last hours of the season



in Kaštan with Unijazz

Besides organising the activities in the Vagon club and other places, the Popmuseum spent the whole year 2004 searching for a new space for the permanent exhibition. In the course of the year, the members of the association visited a number of places and conducted negotiations with various state, municipal and private institutions. Over half a year we spent preparing a contract with the Department of Culture of the Metropolitan District of Prague 8 about gaining space in the Cultural house Ládví in Pargue 8. In the spring 2004, when the contract was ready on both sides just to be signed, the officials of the Department of Culture were dismissed – shortly before the department was abolished. The Department of Education, under which the competence of the former Department of Culture was transferred, was examining our project for about three months and then turned it down.


Fortunatelly, soon afterwards, the Popmuseum received a favourable offer from the Unijazz association, which rented the Kaštan cultural centre in Prague 6. The deal was that Unijazz will sublet two rooms in the basement to the Popmuseum. The contract was signed still in the same year (2004) and from October the Popmuseum was already preparing an exhibition in the Kaštan cultural centre, which was open on 1 December 2004.

We spent the whole year 2005 designing projects, asking advice, looking for people to do the various jobs, ordering, testing, and installing. At our own expense, we sanded and varnished the parquet floors and decorated the walls. For the architect Jan Kupka, who worked with us on the previous place in Besední Street, the task was even harder, for the newly acquired spaces were smaller. Therefore we were forced to reduce the number of the period decorative elements and rather focus on the presentation with the use of the electronic media and interactive systems, and on the variable temporary exhibitions.