Credit: EML/BD

MUNI Faculty of Arts Opens Air-Raid Bunker To The Public For The First Time On Museum Night

As part of Brno’s Museum Night on 18 May, Masaryk University Faculty of Arts will be running a program of different activities, workshops, and events.

A series of porcelain vases by Lucie Vobr Jestřabíková, under the name “Let It Burn”, will be displayed in the Edikula Gallery. They will have an “onion sets” theme, connected with the “Onions in the Onion” children’s workshop at 6pm, where children, under the guidance of an artist, will get to know the motifs that decorate traditional porcelain.

The “Let It Burn” exhibition will also be the starting point for another workshop for adults, based on thermosensitive drawing. Participants will work with thermosensitive paper and heated objects under the guidance of Jestřabíková, creating an original postcard, picture, or collage. These workshops will take place twice, at 7:30 pm and 9 pm.

Sections of footage from a unique film called “Shots from Tibet 1959”, made by an unknown Chinese film-maker, are currently exhibited at the KaFFe Reading Room and Café. On Museum Night, the exhibition will be complemented by the lecture “Brno Track in Tibet: Films and Travel Diaries of Vladimír Sís and Josef Vaniš”. This lecture will start at 6 pm, led by religionist Luboš Bělka, who will explain the history of two Czech photographers who worked for the Chinese People’s Army in 1956 and whose production was censored by the Chinese regime.

Another interesting event will be the symposium night at the Department of Archeology and Museology. The ceremonies will start at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 9:30 pm, focusing on ancient celebrations, which all participants will experience through the eyes of a guest. 

“We will introduce the visitors to the individual parts of the symposium: a purification ceremony, samples of food and drinks, rules of conversation, and clothing,” said Ludmila Kaňáková Hladíková from the Institute of Archeology and Museology of the Faculty of Arts. “The final part will be devoted to symposium games, such as astragals. The event is intended for adults and children eight and above.” 

A secondary entrance to the bunker through a smaller tunnel. Credit: EML/BD

However, the main highlight of the program will be the first ever opening to the public of the anti-aircraft shelter under the faculty building, dating back to the 1950s. With a capacity of 150 people, It was originally meant to protect the university community during air raids, and included a small tunnel leading to what is now the faculty courtyard garden. It forms part of a chain of bunkers that includes the famous 10-Z Bunker under Spilberk and another under the Zbrojovka factory in Židenice, which could host almost 10,000 people. 

“The original equipment has been preserved, including maps, records, and communication equipment,” said museology student Simona Maděránková, who participated in the preparation of the exhibition. “The guided tour starts in the cloakroom area, continues through the gas antechamber originally intended for hygiene, followed by the rooms for those in hiding and the command staff.” She added that visitors can try providing first aid according to contemporary instructional panels, as well as other interactive elements. 

The old first aid instruction panels. Credit: EML/BD

The entrance to the anti-aircraft shelter is from the courtyard of the MU Faculty of Arts at Arna Nováka 1. English-friendly tours will also be available.

Tours take place from 6pm to 11pm every half an hour. Advance registration is required on the Faculty website, though a few places will also be available on every tour for unregistered visitors. Like other events of Brno Museum Night, the bunker tours will be free of charge.

The tours of the shelter are also included in the Open House Brno 2024 festival, which is also taking place on Saturday.

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