Review: LEGO museum, Prague

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View image at flickr

As part of a holiday with my wife recently I had the opportunity to visit Prague in the Czech Republic which, as well as being a beautiful and vibrant city, is also home to dozens of small niche museums, including the Museum of Bricks and LEGO shop, billed as 'the largest private collection of LEGO models in the world'.

From what I can gather it started out as a display of the founder's personal collection but is now one of five LEGO museums in the country.

I wasn't able to photograph the front of the building myself because it's currently covered in scaffolding so the image at the top of the article is from this website. It's a small, narrow, shop front which was probably a bank at some point in its life because part of the museum is housed in what looks to be a vault.

The ground floor houses the shop, more on which later, while the bulk of the museum is in the basement. Descending the stairs into the first gallery gives a good impression of what's in-store.

Basically, it's a display of many (but not all) regular LEGO sets produced from the 1980s onwards. It's all housed in glass cabinets and organised thematically, although some is a bit haphazard.

A few of the models have small cards showing the set number, name, number of pieces and year of release in front, but not many, and this is one area that could be improved. Some displays are interactive, with buttons for operating trains or lights, but not many.

The large cabinet in the centre of this room houses a large City/Town diorama.

View image at flickr

The sets are not displayed with their packaging, although some of the larger boxes have been placed on the tops of the cabinets.

View image at flickr

Racers...

View image at flickr

Space sets, Power Miners, some Star Wars sets...

View image at flickr

Part of the large Star Wars diorama...

View image at flickr

There is a small selection of 1960s and 1970s sets, but it's nowhere as comprehensive as the the 1980s onwards.

View image at flickr

There's also three cabinets with boxes and town plans from the 1950s and 1960s:


MOCsView image at flickr

As well as regular LEGO sets there are a few MOCs of Prague landmarks on display, including the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, Powder Tower and National Museum.

View image at flickr

View image at flickr

This mole is the star of a Czech kids cartoon and could be seen everywhere in the city:


The shopView image at flickr

As you might expect, you exit through the gift shop, and what a shop it is! As well as the current retail assortment of sets, one can also purchase many retired D2C sets and also sets that you won't find in any other shop, such as SDCC exclusives, employee Christmas gifts, LEGO factory models and so on.

But... for everything other than the current retail assortment the prices are astronomical. For example, the SDCC Star Wars boxes in the image below cost 14990 Kr, which is $670 / £515 !! It's all been priced not to sell so it remains in the shop. The website makes a big deal of the rare stuff that's available.

It's hard to see who's going to buy this sort of stuff from here, particularly as the Czech Republic is not the richest country in Europe.

View image at flickr

Here are a few train sets that were for sale. The 2016 employee Christmas gift set 50 Years on Track will set you back $380 / £300.

The shop also has a small pick-a-brick selection of regular bricks and also a huge tub of used parts that could be purchased by weight. Minifigs are sold separately, too.View image at flickr

Despite the prices, it's a great place to window shop, and somewhere to return to when you win the lottery!


Brochure

Here's the brochure that will aid you should you wish to visit yourself. There's more information, including admission prices, on the museum's website.

View image at flickr

image at flickr


Overall opinion

A museum displaying thousands of LEGO sets sounds exciting and interesting, doesn't it!

However, to be honest, I found it a bit boring. Partly I think that was because I'm familiar with all of them (as you'd expect me to be running Brickset), and indeed own many myself.

The main reason, though, was that I felt the presentation was a bit lacklustre. Cabinet after crowded cabinet of assembled LEGO sets, most without any information about them, and many covered with dust. It was pretty much like going round a friend's house and seeing their collection in Ikea cabinets. Admittedly it's an impressive collection but it's nothing that anyone with the requisite amount of money and space couldn't own.

I would have preferred to have seen fewer sets, all properly labelled up and displayed with their packaging, which would transform the displays from a seemingly random set of models on a shelf much like you probably have at home already, into something far more impressive, informative and relatable.

I do however think it's more appealing to casual fans, and in fact my wife very much enjoyed seeing sets she and her brothers had as kids on display.

It's not worth making a special trip to Prague for for but if you find yourself in the city it's definitely worth a visit, once you've watched the Astronomical clock do its thing a few times, walked the Charles Bridge, and had your fill of Pilsner Urquell and Trdelníks...

 

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18 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Ive wanted to do something similar in the Uk for quite a while starting with my personal collection and expanding if it proves successfull, just wondering if theres anyone else out there who was thinking of a similar venture and wanting to share ideas?

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By in United Kingdom,

We also visited the museum whilst on Holiday in Prague. I was looking forward to seeing this as I had read it was supposed to be quite good.
While it was nice to look around at older sets, especially the ones I had missed out on due to my Dark Age and as mentioned, make a Lottery win wish list of the available boxed sets, both me and the wife (who is not a Lego fan btw) both commented that the displays could do with a bit of TLC as what seemed to have been collected and displayed by a keen collector was now being looked after by staff that didn't actually seem to be that interested in, or aware of what they were looking after (just my impression from the day I visited).

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By in Germany,

I went there a little over a year ago and had the same thoughts as you. Loved seeing the sets that were on display, and my kids loved seeing sets they had never seen before.

The sales area was cool, but some items were so expensive that my wife didn't even want me to ask for prices on some smaller items that were only a couple years out of production. The loose brick selection looked to be from the free build area in their basement, and it was apparent they had been washed more than once by the residue on the bricks.

I do regret not picking up some of the more reasonably priced items.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^^^
@scotybalboa
Yes, actually, I am planning to do it one day in Slovakia, starting with my own collection and including anyone who'd like to join forces. :-) What I wondered is mainly the use of the word LEGO, I assume I cannot simply name it "LEGO Museum" without contacting the legal department of LEGO and agreeing on some terms.

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By in Czech Republic,

Totally agree, this place should not be called museum, it is only a presentation place of one man's collection ... and as was already mentioned - the models could be presented in a much more better way and condition. I personally was disappointed after the visit.

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By in Puerto Rico,

Amaizing, they took my idea and did it already, might be the first one in Puerto Rico though.

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By in United States,

A fascinating read on a subject I had thought of before - to turn a private collection of Lego into a mini museum. If I were to attempt a similar idea, I would place greater emphasis on brick-built dioramas incorporating the official sets alongside large-scale, thematically-relevant MOCs as opposed to simply displaying sets as-is inside glass cabinets.

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By in United States,

Like others have said, presentation is key. Most of what I see in the pictures are just a jumbled collection of various sets. It looks similar to my house - I have built sets from all themes scattered about, and a large city display in my Lego room. I find it hard to believe they are allowed to advertise having the largest private collection of Lego in the world; I've seen pictures of Brickset member collections that dwarf what they have.
They really should create several other displays with other themes to give more of a "museum" feel. Even the Star Wars section just looks like a jumbled mess.

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By in United Kingdom,

A jumbled mess just about sums much of it up!

Maybe at one time it was a bit more organised but over time as more and more has been added it's now just untidy.

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By in Sweden,

A museum should tell a story and educate its visitors, pique their interest, assuming they know nothing about the subject. I find that most museums I've visited fail to do this basic thing. They're essentially just collections of stuff which tell me nothing when there's no story. Hopefully this Lego museum can shape up, because it has all ingredients needed.

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By in United States,

Did it cost to get in?

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By in United Kingdom,

About $10.

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By in United States,

My dream is to one day own a small building to house my Lego collection. Obviously I don't know nearly as many sets as this museum but if such a day comes, I want to have a special building where people can walk around and view past and present sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

The 375 yellow lego castle has 2 flags, so must be made from 2 sets.

Yes, I know...

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By in Switzerland,

There used to be really cool huge model of Charles Bridge. Is it not there anymore?

The inflated prices in the shop are in my view one of the many traps for tourists. Trdelnik, as well as thai massages or russian toys that occupy the Prague city center do not have much to do with czech tradition - rather something that tourists want or expect from Prague. Beer is of course another story........

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By in United States,

@Huw
Nice write up on an interesting visit. You hit the nail on the head on the impression of the place. It was like some random persons collection. Overall there was no art direction to the presentation like you should find in a museum, placards, interesting info...it just needs some vision. Shame too because it has some nice pieces in it.

EDIT: I just read what Dude45 said. Great comment.

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By in Czech Republic,

Tourist trap. Nothing more.

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By in United States,

I concur with the comments about presentation & dust, but this museum gave my kids a nice break after tourist trekking around Prague. The owner must have really been a fan to accumulate such a collection during communist times & that would have been interesting to read about.

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