History of the Museum in Karlovy Vary
Foundation of Museum in Karlovy Vary was initiated by famous balneologist and doctor of medicine Josef Löschner. Museum was founded together with regional library and archive as integral municipal institution soon after 1865. Due to patriots and collectors from Karlovy Vary were subsequently gathered extensive collections documenting typical regional handicrafts. Sets of spa cups and minerals, especially various local forms of aragonite, became the oldest museum collections. The private museum of Anton Pitroff, the glass engraver and enthusiastic collector of curiosities and other objects of all kinds, which – as he features in the catalogue of his museum – “can interest not only scholars and scientists, but also every uninitiated - place where everyone can choose whatever he/she likes”, was opened for public in 1876. According to Pitroff`s wish, the whole collection was later involved into the collections of municipal museum. In 1937, the museum was also enriched by private collection of bath doctor Karel David Becher, who, among others, gathered unique set of literature about Karlovy Vary. Before the World War II museum gained a collection of shooting targets and trophies of the shooters club of Karlovy Vary. The private ethnological collection (ethnic furniture, clothing, etc.) of Paul Weber from Hohengrund became part of municipal museum as well. An ethnographer Josef Hofmann (1858-1943) has also enriched museum collections many donations. Museum directors Dr. Karl Ludwig (1868-1931, archivist) and Dr. Viktor Karell (1898-1979, Commercial Academy teacher) and also administrators Josef Knett and Anton Rudolf have merited in successful development of the Museum of Karlovy Vary before the beginning of the World War II.
Today, the Karlovy Vary Museum serves as the modern information and research center for documentation of spa, history and architecture of Karlovy Vary region. Except this, museum manages local branches in Karlovy Vary region: the specialized museum exhibitions in Jáchymov, Nejdek, Žlutice and Horní Blatná.
Museum is documenting the balneology and traditional glass and porcelain (china) production in Karlovy Vary, coinage and medal production in Jáchymov as well as tin production and local ethnography. The museum also carries out the archaeology research and serves as the information center for documentation of Karlovy Vary spa and architectonic monuments.
Museum takes care of and preserves: