Vojtěch Náprstek (1826 – 1894)

Vojtěch Náprstek was a famous patriot, ethnographer, patron and mainly a person who loved progress. In 1848 Vojtěch Náprstek took part in revolutions in Prague and Vienna where he studied law. After both revolutions were suppressed he decided to leave for the United States, where he lived for ten years doing various jobs and also participated in an expedition to the Dakota Indian tribal land. After his return in 1858 his aim was to turn the Czech nation into a modern society that would equal other developed nations. He transformed the U Halánků family brewery located on today's Betlémské Náměstí, which was in the possession of his widowed mother into a center of Czech intelligentsia where he propagated the emancipation of women, progress in households and developed educational activities. In 1862 he founded the Czech Industrial Museum in the brewery, whose collections were expanded by contributions from the traveler Emil Holub, zoologist Antonín Frič, linguist Bedřich Hrozný and many others. In the course of time the museum that was to bring practical examples of progress transformed into an ethnographic museum, for which Náprstek had to build a new building in 1866 that bears his name until this day – the Náprstek Museum. In his last will Vojtěch Náprstek bequeathed his personal collections counting 46,000 volumes of books and 18,000 photographs to his museum. The progressiveness of Vojtěch Náprstek was evident also after his death, as he had wished to be cremated, which was not possible under Austrian-Hungarian laws. His remains were therefore cremated in neighboring Saxony. Vojtěch Náprstek also founded the Czech Tourist Club (KČT) in 1888. 

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