Thursday, November 3, 2016

Czech Museum

We visited the Czech Heritage Museum in Temple, TX. Why a Czech museum, when we do not have any known ancestors from the Czech Republic? Well, because Texas is home to 187,729 Czech-Americans, according to the 2000 census, which is the largest number in any state of the Union. And because the museum would be certain to have some neat things. We were not disappointed.

My eyes were first drawn to the textiles. These women knew how to wield a needle with optimum skill, that's for sure! There were quilts, lacework, embroidery, beading, and stitching on perforated paper.

Beaded bonnets--exquisite!
Details of embroidery on a woman's skirt
This cuff was created by making tiny pleats to gather the fabric, then embroidering over the pleats, a form of smocking.

Embroidery on perforated paper. Not a great photo because of the reflection off the glass--sorry! I had had a bookmark from my great grandmother (or maybe her mother) stitched on perforated paper, and I have done some of this type of work years ago. So I am very familiar with this type of stitchery.  It was mis-labeled as tapestry. The curator was happy to learn more about it and will be correcting the label.

But there weren't just textiles here. The museum also featured a room full of Josef Lada paintings. He was a famous Czech satirist, illustrator, and landscape painter, and I was captivated by his images of life in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic.)

This is a ballot box used a hundred years ago, with marbles to choose your favorite candidate. 
A magic gambler used to determine who would pay for the beer in 1880, still in operating condition.
There was a lovely display of marionettes made in 1875, brought to America in 1923. The costumes are beautifully detailed.

We were treated to a tour of the exhibits by one of the curators who was obviously very passionate about the museum and the history of the Czechs. Fascinating!

After we were finished, we stepped into a bakery next door called the Teddy Bear Bakery where we feasted on soup, sandwiches, and kolaches for dessert, a Czech pastry similar to a Danish.
The baker told me that these treats are pronounced "kull-OTCH," although Texans call them "kull-OTCH-ees." However you pronounce them, they are GOOD!

We topped off our day by going to the movies, seeing the new Jack Reacher film. If you are looking for an action-packed movie with a good story, see this one. We enjoyed it very much.

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