SHOE MUSEUM IN ZLIN
QUITE USUAL SHOES,
YET SHOES VERY UNIQUE
Out of the original need to protect our feet from cold, heat, moisture and dangerous surfaces, shoes became an inseparable part of our live. Already at the beginning of human history, shoes became a characteristic fashion item, an artwork inspiration as well as an artwork itself.
The English playwright George Bernard Shaw said, that if somebody established a complete museum of footwear development, he would in fact create a picture of material cultural history starting from the modest beginnings through the complicated mistakes up to the present purposefulness. Was it an intention of buyers, salesmen and designers of the Bata Company to establish such a museum in Zlin, when they brought back interesting footwear from all over the world? Results of their enthusiasm for collecting established a basis of the later collection of historical and exotic footwear. The collection was first presented to the public in 1931, so it can be said that the Shoe Museum in Zlin is one of the oldest museums in the world with this kind of specialisation.
The collection reflects footwear development from the earliest periods of the Czech history up to the present days. The earliest years are documented by replicas made in Bata modelling department according to original pictures and patterns. The replicas received their names according to the presumed owners, and so you can see a replica of a riding boot of King Wenceslas, high boots owned by Albrecht von Waldstein, Bozena Nemcova's textile ankle-boots or elastic-sided shoes worn by Bedrich Smetana. The oldest original footwear dates back to the first half of the 17th century.
A collection of footwear from various foreign nations is quite unique. It contains different types of footwear coming from all continents in the world. The most unique is probably a set of textile slippers from a feudal China. Also a collection of Ataman boots bought in 1911 by the last owner of the Buchlov estates is very interesting as well as a set of African sandals and a quite extensive collection of footwear from India. Most attractive exhibits for a common, non-professional visitor are probably the sandals made from ostrich feathers and from human hair. These sandals were used in central Australia for ritual purposes. And what is mostly admired by the professionals? Probably an embroidered slipper dating back to the Thirty Years' War or a slipper called "cothurni", generally regarded to be preserved only in 20 samples in the whole world.
The largest and probably also the most comprehensive collection of our Shoe Museum is that of Bata company's own production. This collection reflects the production development since the establishment of the production factory in 1894 up to 1945, when the whole production plant was nationalized. A cross-section of the Bata production enables the visitor to follow the history of one of the best-known Czech companies.
People have worn shoes since time immemorial. Out of necessity, but also for a show, on working days as well as on holidays, in joy and in grief. Although we may not realize it, the footwear is a fantastic source of information on ourselves and on the human history generally. The Czech novelist Ludvik Vaculik wrote in one of his latest books that a shoe is an interesting and a nice thing. There are all different kinds of things in the world but not every one of them is interesting, nice and purposeful at the same time. Variety of shapes and colourful beauty of these small "treasures" exhibited in our Shoe Museum will certainly excite a visitor of the end of the millennium. Come and see for yourselves the newly built exhibition of all these shoes, boots, slippers ......
This page is made in collaboration with the Muzeum.
PERMANENT EXHIBITION OF THE MUSEUM OF SOUTH-EAST MORAVIA
OBUVNICKE MUZEUM ZLIN
P.O.Box 175, - 762 57 ZLIN
Tel/fax: 420 (0)67 - 852 22 03
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10-12 am - 1-5 pm