The National Museum of Agriculture was founded in 1891 as an initiative of the Jubilee Exhibition´s organizers which was held in Prague. The basis of the museum´s collections were the exhibits displayed at the Jubilee Exhibition and Ethnographic Exhibition in 1895. The Museum of Agriculture was then the part of the Ethnographic Museum and it became an independent institution in 1918.
The museum was shortly seated in the Sylva-Tarrouca Palace on Na Příkopech street and between 1902 and 1938, it resided in so called Riding-Hall in the Kinsky Summer House in the Prague´s District called Smíchov. Since the very beginning, the museum had struggled with a lack of space despite the fact that other regional branches were opened in Brno and Ostrava. Therefore in 1930s, the construction of the new museum building began in the Prague´s location called Letná. Nowadays, this building is a remarkable monument of the Czech functionalism. It was built between 1937 – 1939 as a joint project together with the National Technical Museum designed by architect Mr.Babuška.
Shortly after its completion, the building was taken by the Nazi occupying army. When the World War II ended, it served as a museum again. But already in 1950, the State Dislocation Commission enjoined that the building shall be used by the newly appointed design organizations so that the museum was moved out partly to the Konopiště Chateau and partly to the Kačina Chateau near the town of Kutná Hora.
In the early 1960s, the museum collections were relocated from Konopiště to the hunting lodge Ohrada near Hluboké nad Vltavou. In the same time, the museum could rent part of the premises in the Lednice chateau in Moravia.
At the turn of 1980s and 90s, the museum gained other exhibitional and deposit premises in Moravia, specifically in Zdechovice, Valtice and in the Jan Castle. In 2001, the museum vacated the premises in Lednice and in the next two following years, the Zdechovice collections followed and were moved to the Museum of Farming Machinery in Čáslav which was opened to the public in 2004.
The National Museum of Agriculture returned to its original building in 1994 and construction works started immediately in order to to bring it back to its former state. Long time-out caused the loss of the museum´s continuity among the Prague´s society. At present, the museum tries to link up traditions of the First Republic when it participated in many significant national exhibitions and when its displays were fully visited . At that time , the museum was firmly anchored in the subconscious of cultural public and also cooperated with other European agricultural museums as their integral part.
National Museum of Agriculture is a state specialized institution. Within its scope, the museum has following main objectives :
- creating collections (including the care of the national cultural heritage)
- scientific research (mainly elaboration and evaluation of museum´s collections)
- education, publishing and presentation (presentation of museum´s results towards both professional community and general public.
Organisational structure of the museum covers the whole field of agriculture in its all aspects:
- Prague ( progressive reconstruction of the building) – the headquarters, food exhibition, temporary exhibitions, lecture activities
- Kačina (Kačina Chateau, Čáslav premises) – crop and animal production, rural crafts ,country life, farm machinery and implements
- Ohrada (haunting lodge) – forestry, fishery and hunting
- Valtice – museum of gardencraft and environment