Place/Event: National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
Location: 1400 Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Cost: Fee: see website.
Grade/age range: All ages.
Group size: small or large
Stroller friendly: Yes
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library has been on my bucket list for several years. After our visit, I wish we had gone sooner. The fascinating short history of these two countries make it easy for students to grasp and apply the lessons learned to other areas of study.
Disclaimer: Our visit was hosted, however, all opinions expressed in this article are completely ours and based on our own family’s unique experience.
Before your visit, utilize the educational resources, available online, with your students. We enjoyed reading about immigration and completing the mapping activities.
Check the exhibit schedule often as exhibits and programming change frequently. Look for free student admission on select days. Special events including Autism Night help make the museum accessible to everyone.
When you arrive at the museum, make sure to take advantage of the free temperature- controlled parking garage located under the building. The garage doors open automatically when a vehicle pulls up.
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library appeals to multiple age groups. Several glass display cases feature delicate items. Plenty of signage, timelines, and quotes give the older student advanced information.
A children’s activity guide can help younger students. Several hands-on activity centers give them a chance to touch, play, and act. My children enjoyed the puppet theatre and sound board. Exhibits such as packing a suit case while putting themselves in the shoes of a fleeing immigrant helps bring the experience to life.
One of our favorite exhibits was an Immigration Map. Using a touch screen computer, visitors select the historical decade and county of origin. The map displays a series of dots to show how the populations change.
A movie theatre features an assortment of educational and entertaining films.
During our visit, Heritage Caretakers of Moravia was on display. Beautiful folk art clothing and decorations where in the Smith Gallery. Children could even try on some of the folk art clothing items.
Sleger Family Immigrant House
The Sleger Family Immigrant House is only a few steps outside of the main museum building. A lovely volunteer, Shirley, gave us a tour. She explained how the building had been moved after the flood of 2008 and the Sleger family history. She also showed how items from past historical time periods were used.
Building & Library
The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is a beautiful architecture building. They have a large conference room that can host receptions, programs, and more. A Tea was being prepared during our visit.
The library offers family genealogy resources and general information books. Don’t miss the children’s section with everything from board books to longer fairy tales.
Tucked away in this little nook of Cedar Rapids is several fun things for the whole family. The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is situated along the Cedar River in The District: Czech Village & New Bohemia. Plan to spend time strolling through the neighborhood streets and shops.
The Cedar Rapids Public Library, located several blocks to the north, features a green roof and looks over Green Square.
Don’t miss these other fascinating stops in Eastern Iowa.