Czech Innovation in Cedar Rapids

An exhibitgoer uses VR tech to decipher symbols on the wall. Check out this video to see more about how the exhibit works. Photo: Courtesy of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.

Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Equal parts art, history and high-tech science, a new interactive exhibit at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids highlights notable Czech contributions to engineering and design.

The Czech Innovation Expo starts with a scattering of abstract symbols in an otherwise bare gallery. Visitors download an augmented-reality app that deciphers the symbols into stories that explain the origins of various Czech inventions and breakthroughs. Everything from bicycles to rockets to electron microscopes has benefited from creative Czech brains.

The traveling exhibit was prepared by the Czech Center with the Czech Academy of Sciences. Its Iowa visit, through June 26, was funded in part by BetterLife and the Iowa Arts Council.

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