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  - Collections   »   The Chattels in the Charge of the Mining Museum Příbram

The oldest, mining corporeal chattels which are in the charge of the Mining Museum in Příbram are connected, except the products of nature, with the first inhabitants of the region, the Celts. Many of the tools which they were using have been well-preserved up to the present days. The mining marks left by Slavic tribes date back to the 10th and 11th centuries, but some of them are not very reliable or credible. It is evident that the mining and processing of the ores, which were rich in silver, lead, zinc and some other metals, started in the Březové Hory Mining Area in the 13th century. The richest deposits of base metals were at the Březové Hory Community and at the village of Bohutín. The oldest written evidence about the processing ores in the Příbram Region is a bearer paper of April 21, 1311. It confirmed that Konrád, a Prague burgess, settled his smelting house, which he had built with his sons at their own expense, on Prague bishop Jan IV. This document is regarded as the first written evidence attesting the mining and processing of metals rich in silver and lead in the neighbourhood and confirms that the tradition of mining in the area definitely dates back before 1311. The copy of that document is displayed in the former Registration Room of the Ševčin Mine, a section of the Mining Museum, Příbram.

The mining works were running in the Příbram Region during the next centuries with big or small successes. The first significant mining boom lasted from the 1530s to the 1550s but it did not spread out of the region. However, it caused the inflow of miners and smelters, mainly Germans from the Giant Mountains.

That time is introduced by a lot of mining tools and also by the bell, which dates from 1580 and comes from the original mining St. Prokop Church. The technical level of the mining works has been illustrated in the illuminated gradual dated from the 1580s.

The Collection of Mining Museum, Příbram has in its possession some valuable literary works specialized in mining and processing. The oldest one was published in Basle in 1556 and it is a book by J. Agricola called De Re Metalica Libri XII with many beautiful wood-blocks.

Entering the foyer of the house where mineralogical, geological and paleontological collections of the Příbram Museum are displayed the visitors are attracted by a stately and valuable oil-painting placed on the front side of the hall. It is a picture from the Lukas' Gospel, Chapter XVI, dated back to the 17th century. The scene is a parable about a housekeeper who is rendering an account to his lord; in this picture the master of the mine and the smelting plant is doing that to the owner of the mining enterprise. Similar scenes are illustrated in two oil-paintings which are in possession of the Zwinger Gallery in Dresden. The other pictures showing the mining works in many European countries including Bohemia are represented by drawings, lithographic works and engravings from the 18th, 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.

Most mining chattels which are in possession of the Mining Museum have origin in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is in virtue of the time when exploitation of silver in the Příbram Region was blooming. It was in the second half of the 19th century and at that time the local mining reached the European level, in some branches the world level.

The Mining Museum in Příbram gathers in its collections also folk art which is represented by many articles and small works made by local miners and smelters. They are, for example, models of mines decorated with carving and decorative minerals called 'štufnverk', wooden statues of miners and mining patrons, pictures of the Nativity and others.

The document collections of great historic and documentation value in the Mining Museum in Příbram are represented by mining maps, technical plans and drawings, the register-books and photographs. Some pictures were taken by a world-known photographer, born in Příbram, František Drtikol (1883 - 1961). Also chronicles and final reports are very valuable. Among them there is the Final Report of the Rudné Doly (Ore Mines), Příbram, a state enterprise, from 1985 and the Final Report of the Příbram Deposit handed in by the Management of the Uranové Doly (Uranium Mines), a branch office of the DIAMO, a state enterprise, Příbram.