by Heber Huang and Sven Sun
PRAGUE，Czech Republic– Zdeněk Chaloupka walks along the Na můstku Street, a main shopping district in Prague, Czech Republic. He ascends winding staircases, bypasses a casino, and goes ahead to the Museum of Communism.
The museum is located around 600 meters away from the Wenceslas Square, which witnesses the memorial moment that nearly 200,000 Czechs gathered here to celebrate the peaceful overthrow of the communist regime in November 1989.
A statute of Vladimir Lenin stands by a window at the entrance of the museum with a scarlet Soviet-Russian flag in the left hand. A few meters away is a scene reproducing an old classroom where many textbooks are placed on a desk and a poem on the blackboard extols the virtues of tractors.
Chaloupka, a 24-year-old filmmaker on his first journey in the museum, says he is very interested in the communism region and wants to make a film about it. However, unlike Chaloupka, not every Czech is willing to recall that period of time, let alone creating or visiting a museum with such a theme.
Glenn Spicker, the owner of the museum, came from the US and opened the museum in 2001. It is the first of the kind that focuses on Czech’s history of communism. Spicker says when he had the idea, his friends in Prague all laughed at it. “It’s quite ironic, isn’t it?” he says, “An America from a capitalism country built a museum of communism.”
Now the museum has become a very popular scenic spot where many tourists go while local people are less interested in it, said Spicker.
Olga, a Czech who only wants to give her first name pays her first visit to Prague. She drags her English boyfriend to the museum. She says the only reason she comes to the museum is that she wants her boyfriend to know more about what happened when communism regime dominated across her country.
Iva Freyova, another Czech working in Prague showed her friends from overseas to the museum four years ago because they wanted to see what communism was like. However, Freyova says she never thought about going there on her won to learn the history of her own country. There was no need to go there to find more, she says.
“My parents may talk about communism sometimes,” Freyova says, “But I don’t talk with my friends about this topic frequently. We are not interested in it.”