News > 2008

Unique Photo Studio Seidel Ready to Welcome First Visitors

press release dated 24. 4. 2008

Fans of historical photographs and in particular admirers of the unique work of Josef and František Seidel should mark the date 6th June 2008 in their calendars. This is the day that Museum Photo Studio Seidel in Český Krumlov first opens its doors to visitors.

Českokrumlovský rozvojový fond, spol. s r. o. (100% subsidiary of the Český Krumlov municipality) has in the spring of 2005 acquired the builidng in Linecká street in Český Krumlov housing the photo studio of the Seidel family. This residential buildingdating from 1905, has housed a functional photo studiountil 1949 and preserved in its archive are nearly 140 000 photographs on glass plates and on celluloid tapes, documenting in unique pictures the Bohemian Forest region and everyday life in the frontier region in the 1st half of the past century. Also well preserved is the original house furnishing and in particular the photo studio including many historical instruments, devices and decorations, as well as detailed documentation on the people sitting for photography portraits, such as their names and addresses, lists of accounts, inventories etc.

This historical monument has several unique features, in particular the well-preserved collection of original house furnishings . Here we have in one spot not only the original building with the photo studio with only negligible alterations, but also most of the original technical equipment of the photo studio and also the photographs themselves in abundant quantity, created by Josef and his son František Seidel.

Upon acquisition, Českokrumlovský rozvojový fond with additional funding provided by the European Union, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the South Bohemian Region has immediately taken upon reconstruction of the house, as well as restoration of the inventory and preservation of the photographic heritage. The restoration effort is now nearly finished, so that on 6th June 2008 this Museum Photo Studio Seidel may open its doors to first visitors.

Before the reconstruction, the entire photography collection, photo studio equipment and all the house furnishings had to be removed into the brand-new well-equipped depository in Chvalšinská steet. Moving the photographs and documents into this new depository ensured optimum storage of all valuables behind safety doors, an ideal temperature around 18 °C and moisture levels bellow 50 %. The experts employed by the depository have fully digitalized the extensive photography collection.

In May last year this future Museum project has gained a new dimension.. Českokrumlovský rozvojový fond has managed to purchase the piece of land with a building directly adjacent to the future Museum building from a private owner. The plan was to restore this building to enhance the future Museum Photo Studio Seidel. This building will serve as a storage of technical equipment and a service center for the visitors. In addition, it will also house an accompanying exhibition.

In parallel to the reconstruction efforts last year, the exhibition itself in the building with the Photo Studio has been prepared. The restoration experts had to first uncover and then regenerate the original wall paintings from the beginning of the 20th century. Next the furnishing of the photo studio as well as photo cameras and other photography instruments were piece by piece restored.

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