The magic of old times breathes behind the yellowed pictures to the visitors of the long-awaited exhibition, which can now be seen in the Museum of History in Olomouc (VMO).
Curator Hana Jakůbková about the exhibition of historical pictures of Olomouc in the National Museum
| Video: Vránová Magda
It presents the oldest photograph of the city of Olomouc as well as a rare collection of historical images that were taken from the roof of the town hall tower more than sixty years ago.
The impetus for organizing the exhibition was a discovery by amateur researcher Peter Hoffmann. In May 2022, he discovered a digitized image of Olomouc’s Mercury Fountain and today’s 8. Května Street on the website of the Getty Museum.
“The photograph, the author of which is the traveling German photographer Jakob Höflinger, dates from 1853 to 1856. The oldest photographs of Olomouc were still considered to be those taken by the Berlin photographer Hermann Haubenreisser in September 1860,” said exhibition curator Hana Jakůbková.
The oldest picture of Olomouc. View of Merkur’s fountain and the former Česká Street (now 8. Května Street). Exhibition of historical photos of Olomouc in the National MuseumSource: Diary/Magda Vránová
Interesting facts about the oldest known photograph of the city of Olomouc:
Olomouc researcher Petr Hofmann discovered the picture on May 22, 2022 in the digitized holdings of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The photograph was taken in the winter of 1853 to 1854 or 1855 to 1856, by the traveling German photographer Jacob Höflinger. Compared to the original photo, today the Merkur fountain has been slightly moved, originally it extended more into the area of 8. května street. Its location was later adjusted with regard to the traffic load of the place. In the last century, fountains used to be lined with barnyard manure and surrounded by wooden formwork to prevent frost damage. The heat generated during the decomposition of manure was retained and the water supply was thus protected against freezing.
At that time, Hermann Haubenreisser’s pictures were made to order on the occasion of the repair of the roof of the town hall tower and together with other souvenirs were stored in the roof box. They were picked up and stored in the museum depository only in 1961.
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The magic of the old days also breathes on visitors from the original photographs of the studio A. Pichler & spol. Also on display are business card photos produced by local studios and period photographic equipment for developing images.
Comparison images on the touch screen
Families with children will also enjoy the exhibition. On the touch screen, they can compare historical images of the city with contemporary photos.
“We tried to photograph them with our museum photographer Pavle Rozsíval from the same places as photographers in the 19th century. Finding the right places and getting to the right windows was not always easy, we also used a ladder,” explained curator Hana Jakůbková.
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An attractive addition is a special photo corner, where visitors can wear period costumes lent by the Moravian Theater Olomouc and take original photos.
The exhibition is open until the end of March.