National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
Holds Jubilant Celebration Festival!
Nearly 14,000 jubilant visitors from around the USA and several foreign countries, poured into the newly expanded National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library (NCSML) at 1400 Inspiration Place SW, Cedar Rapids, IA, on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15. The NCSML held a two-day celebration festival for its grand re-opening, after the building was moved and nearly tripled in size, now with an underground parking garage and elevator.
According to a museum visitor survey, the reasons many attended included a desire to view the new building and the Alphonse Mucha exhibit, that continues through December. The opening ceremony included officials from the Czech and Slovak Republics, U.S. and local officials, and museum board members. Festival activities included a large parade of states, four exhibits, outdoor music performances, a lecture series, an evening gypsy jazz concert and two films in the indoor theater. There were food and beer tents outdoors and ethnic dance performances at the outdoor amphitheater.
On Sunday, visitors enjoyed an outdoor church service that included a blessing of the building, where visitors brought a flower and took a different one home, and a large circle prayer in the performance space. A Cedar Rapids Library representative read Czech and Slovak Tales in the museum’s library reading area, and the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre of NYC presented “The White Doe” to packed houses, with 30-40 children sitting on the floor in front of the seated adults.