If you’re not from Iowa, you might not know about the different pockets of European immigrants who have settled all across the state. There are the Danes in Elk Horn and the Swedes in Swedesburg, but did you know that Cedar Rapids is home to a large number of Czech and Slovak immigrants?
Earlier this summer we embarked on an adventure to explore the eclectic Czech Village starting with the neighborhood’s National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
When we visited the museum had a variety of different exhibits on view, including a historical look at Czech and Slovak immigration to the U.S., a collection of glass perfume bottles and their role in the culture’s history, and (my personal favorite) some of the last pieces artist Andy Warhol created. Fun fact: It’s debated by historians and even the artist himself whether Warhol was Czech or Slovak, but in fact, he was neither. Instead he was Rusyn, an eastern Slovak group of people.
The exhibits themselves were detailed and engaging, and it was interesting to learn about the larger Czech and Slovak migration to the United States in relation to the Cedar Rapids community. I especially enjoyed the interactive audio components that allowed us to step inside a 20th century immigrant’s journey in the Faces of Freedom exhibit.
If you visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum
If you’re in the Cedar Rapids area, I definitely recommend a visit to the National Czech & Slovak Museum. The small museum is well-organized and educational, and the overall history is an interesting part of the region’s cultural heritage.
Admission: Adults $10 / Students, Veterans, Military $5 / Children $3
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 4 pm / Sunday: Noon – 4 pm
National Czech & Slovak Museum, 1400 Inspiration Place SW in Cedar Rapids, Iowa