History of the museum

The Museum of Nativity Scenes is located at Karlštejn Square in the Baroque building of the local parsonage built in 1755. Its ground floor houses a fine collection of Czech historical wooden nativity scenes, together with nativity scenes made of rare old materials such as wax, sugar or bread. The museum was officially founded on August 17th, 1995. However, the history of the collection presented in the museum is much older.

The instigator of the idea to build the museum was Ladislav Trešl (1943 – 2010), who started collecting folk art at the age of 20. Gradually, he became interested in nativity scenes. His collection grew slowly and was mainly influenced by his strong connection to East Bohemia, a region he loved to visit. There, he encountered nativity scenes for the first time and began collecting and learning about them. In the mid-1990s, he came up with the idea of opening a museum to display his collection to the public. Because Ladislav Trešl was interested in more than just nativity scenes, it was possible to suitably combine the exhibited nativity scenes with period furniture, sculptures, paintings, reverse glass paintings or folk pottery. The building of the Karlštejn parsonage, which houses the museum, looks relatively small from the outside; however, it has a very interesting interior layout, allowing visitors to experience several different environments. They can admire various nativity scenes all over the place, from the cellar to the attic. The ground floor rooms display around 50 historical nativity scenes. Of course, some might think this number is small; however, it is a rather exceptional collection considering the exhibits’ rarity. We specialise in historical nativity scenes because the size of our collection allows us to do so. Although we would like to present contemporary nativity scenes as well, the museum building cannot accommodate the entire Trešl’s collection.