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Jiří Gruša centre

Hudcova 76
621 00 Brno
tel.: +420 515 910 422

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The Centre for cultural history of the 20th century has been created in the Moravian Museum only recently and it has become an important part of the Department of the history of literature. 

Less than three years ago the idea to create an archive of books, correspondence, manuscripts and similar items of writers and various culturally active people who had worked in opposition to the then communist regime appeared among the museum management and several writers. On the initiative of the writer and playwright  Pavel Kohout further authors having lived and created in exile as well as domestic authors have been invited to hand over their archives to the Moravian Museum. The response has been mostly positive and so this new and quite unique archive of samizdat exile literature and literary remains of its authors is being created step by step. The Centre for cultural history of the 20th century is seated in the same building as the Department of history of literature in Brno, Hudcova street. It has one whole floor at its disposal so that some of the authors could be granted an own room  where  their publications, books, letters, manuscripts and printed matters, photographs, records, films, etc. have been held. As personal effects of these personalities are also to be found there, the researcher has the unique opportunity to study the object of his interest in his own environment. 

Currently the museum owns a large part of the archive of Pavel Kohout and his wife Jelena  Mašínová. There are also the archive and a part of the library of the writer Jiří Gruša with precious interview records, as well as materials of the writer Ota Filip, the literary historian Lumír Kuchař, the philosopher Božena Komárková and the writer and literary critic Jan Trefulka. Books by the Protestant pastor Bedřich B. Bašus are partially stored in his own furniture and the room has been equipped according to ideas and with the support of his wife, academic painter Marie Filippová. Besides the archives of the Moravian poets Jan Skácel and Oldřich Mikulášek the researcher can also have a look at the writings of the sociologist Miloslav Petrusek. In these days the heritage of Jaromír Procházka has been treated. The historian Jan Tesař has been preparing not only his own texts but also materials of his friends having worked in samizdat during the normalization. He designs himself the arrangement of furniture that will mostly originate from his property. 

Materials of extraordinary value come from the so called Underground University that was run with the support of the Jan Hus Educational Foundation based in London. Its archive has been handed over to the museum by the British philosopher, aesthetician, political scientist, writer and musician Roger Scruton. The translator Barbara Day, an eminent personality of the Underground University, has been working on ordering this archive. The content of the materials is immense; they include valuable writings concerning e.g. the Jazz Section, lectures by various personalities and a large amount of correspondence of people who tried, during the normalization, to provide Czech intelligentsia with quality education free of ideological misrepresentations.  Even if this section is still in the stage of inception, the researchers can – on appointment – use the collections for their study or publications. The objective is not only to preserve and document cultural activities of personalities of the 20th century but also, through exhibitions, lectures and research work, to arouse the interest and inform the public about recent events of our cultural history. Documents are available for personal study and have been continuously digitized and treated so that they could serve future generations. 

Corpus litterarum / Literary vestiges not only in Moravian history

Permanent exhibitions
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