Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Prague: The Railroad Kingdom

NTD Television: Prague’s Railroad Kingdom Opens New Historic Exhibits

Transcription of a news story from December 22, 2010:

The "Railroad Kingdom" entertainment center in Prague is launching several new and interesting exhibits. The president of Karlovy Vary Town, Josef Novotny, is revealing this region – newly added to the center’s national model. The creators put in classic attractions of the renowned spa town of Karlovy Vary, including the International Film Festival, old castles in the countryside and scenic walking paths.

[Josef Miracky, Railroad Kingdom]: ”We used more than 1,100 various small figures in the Karlovy Vary model; they are performing all the ordinary activities. The figures really enhance the story of the rail yard."

Apart from opening the new portion of the nation’s model, the center has also installed a new exhibition – “Our Small History” – showing life in the 1960’s and 70’s when Czechoslovakia was still a socialist state.

[Lucian Krutomluv, Our Small History Exhibition Script Author]: “I’d pictured in my head situations which were pretty absurd or embarrassing and occasionally funny. I scanned my memory and based on the model’s look, made up some situations typical for that time. Some scenes were decided already; others were staged based on the figures. You form the men and then they form the situation. Like this one – that’s an underground band."

The national model and the whole expo project are not meant as just humorous flashbacks about the farce of the old days. They are an authentic and imaginative way to expand youngsters’ awareness of Prague’s history.

[Dusan Vselicha, Our Small History Exhibition Curator]: “We try to find various key points and moments in this exhibition; often humorous, often embarrassing and often sort of degrading. They remind us how life used to be like here, during communism. You know, people often tend to forget these things."

So what’s the message of this exhibition? Vselicha says

[Dusan Vselicha, Our Small History Exhibition Curator]: "Our Small History’s little human models show how small and cynical people were made to feel during the communist times – perhaps also showing that many people still are so small, so narrow-minded and so very skeptical."

Railroad Kingdom is a permanent display. The Project’s creators are planning to add new segments to the model at regular intervals. They hope to finish the whole project by 2014. After 4 years of expansion, the railroads should cover around four tenths of a square mile – turning the Railroad Kingdom into not only the largest rail model in Prague, but in Central and Eastern Europe as well.

NTD News, Prague, Czech Republic.

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