Village life in 19th century rural South Bohemia
The Czech Room
This exhibition outlines the main impacts on 19th century village life. The first outline is about the Czech lands as part of the Hapsburg Empire, to which they belonged since the 16th century.
Left: the Czech lands inside the Austro-Hungarian Empire of 1848
Right: hands-on: visitors testing the displayed prams and toy prams
The period 1848 - 1918 was a time of great changes. Great social unrest and uprisings forced the Hapsburgs in 1848 to abolish feudalism and serfdom. This granted more freedom and liberal rights to the peasants. Ultimately, this would lead to the declaration of an independent Czechoslovak state in 1918.
The second outline is about the Church as place of meeting and of being registered and recognized as individual; this is where the earliest registration of birth, marriage and deaths took place. After 1848, this role was taken over by the newly established District Offices. The military also played an important role. In those turbelent times, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had a draft which took village boys into the army for over 10 years!
Initially, schooling peasants was not important for Empire and Church; ignorance worked better. Late 1700s schools finally became better and obligatory. In 1872, the parish school had 239 children, with only one teacher and one assistant. Time for the Kojakovice people to ask for their own school. After checking if the famrs produced enough food to sustain the teacher, the school was approved. In the 1970s, the school was closed by lack of children in the village.
Children like to try out the original benches and make some drawings, numerous of them being displayed along the walls of the former class room. Adults often sit down and memorize about their youth sitting in just such benches and using the same books, although not the slates.
The next outline focusses on the actual farming and on staying alive and in business in increasingly difficult times. Many farming utensils show what was used in daily life. Family trees, marriage contracts, and last wills show how the farm was pasted on to next generations.
Our museum is not only allow touching and manipulating artifacts, we also try to give life explanations about rural life to visitors as standard part of our services.