The town of Kamenice nad Lipou lies in the northwestern region of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, some 20 kilometers north of Jindřichův Hradec, in Pelhřimov District.
In 1580–1583, the original 13th-century castle was converted into a Renaissance mansion graced by a courtyard with arcades and a garden. The Baroque entrance tower was built in 1744. The chateau acquired its present Late Neo-classical appearance in the early 19th century. It is surrounded by an English landscape garden featuring a linden tree estimated to be 700–800 years old. The Geymüller family was the Kamenice chateau’s last pre-World War II owner. In 1998, this historical landmark came under the management of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (UPM). Following extensive restoration work carried out between 1999 and 2004, a collection of furniture was installed in its interiors, which is open to the broad public. UPM also holds long-term exhibitions (toys, wrought ironwork, etc.) in other spaces of the chateau, intended both for children and adults. During the summer months, a café with a terrace offers refreshments and a pleasant ambiance. There is a visitors’ information centre in the chateau and exhibition installations administered by the town’s Municipal Museum in its south wing.
Flatlets for Dolls
Doll rooms and doll houses are among the oldest and most popular kinds of toys in the world. The exhibition displays items from UPM’s collections, dating from the second half of the 19th century to the 1930s. Reduced-scale copies of interiors consist of three walls made of plywood or folding cardboard. The variability of the furnishings depended on the nature and purpose of the room. Different types of furniture were used for a shop, parlour room or kitchen. The diversity of the miniature furniture nicely illustrates the historical trends in interior design. Doll houses often imitated real interiors, as can be seen when compared with furnishings in the master bedroom of the Geymüller family – the Kamenice chateau’s last pre-World War II owners. • The exhibition contains a play zone for young visitors and an educational programme.
With their phenomenal success, Matchbox toys have been enjoyed by several generations of children and adults. Lesney was a British manufacturing company that introduced its die-cast miniature models of cars, machinery and various types of toys in the late 1940s. The Matchbox brand became noted for its packaging of small models into match-size boxes. Interestingly, the design was inspired by the Norvic box produced by Czechoslovakia’s SOLO Sušice match manufacturer. These models were extremely popular in Czechoslovakia due to their extraordinary precision and recreation of the originals down to the smallest details, as well as their functionality, durability and bright colours. • The exhibition presents more than 1,500 models ranging from the first toys manufactured in the late forties and early fifties to vintage models made quite recently. • The exhibition contains a play zone. > Bring your Matchbox model to the chateau!
A collection of 19th and 20th century furniture: The Evolution of Furniture Design in the Bohemian Lands and Other Countries of Europe
The largest exhibition of its kind in the Czech Republic tells the story of modern furniture design from the first half of the 19th century – the Biedermeier period – until the close of the 20th century. It offers a comprehensive overview of the modern history of furniture in the Czech lands against the backdrop of significant developments in furniture making worldwide, including one-of-a-kind designer pieces. The most distinguished artist-designers are represented here, including Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Ray and Charles Eames, Josef Gočár, Josef Hoffmann, Pavel Janák, Eva Jiřičná, Kaare Klint, Verner Panton, Josip Plečnik, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ettore Sottsass, Bořek Šípek, and many others.
Grilles, Locks, Keys
The walk-through exhibition of wrought ironwork that starts in the chateau’s Renaissance hall is the first permanent display specializing in this handicraft in the Czech Republic. It showcases examples of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque grilles and railings, as well as historic locks, keys, knockers and ironmongery dating from the Romanesque period to the 19th century. • The interactive programme enables visitors to try out the mechanisms of locks and knockers or to activate a wrought-iron dragon.
Alena Matějková: A Journey
The chateau’s cellars feature a monumental object created by the glass artist and sculptor Alena Matějková. In its visual concept reminiscent of archaic architecture, the artist evokes the atmosphere of ancient rituals and the Celtic veneration of light as the source of all life. The stone object intentionally brings to mind menhirs and megalithic structures, strewn all over Europe many centuries ago.
Other displays worth visiting in the chateau:
Museum of the Senses – permanent exhibition of the Municipal Museum
Hračkobraní Toy Harvest Summer Festival – a July exhibition of wooden toys, toy designers and producers, including works by art students and toys in the holdings of collectors from all over the Czech Republic. After the end of the Toy Harvest event, a part of the summer festival’s toy exhibition remains on display.