The Museum has a large collection of now forgotten dance cards and beautiful, fragile fans. Part of the collection is on display from the 7th of January 2019 in this exhibit that takes place in the Museum’s main building, reminding us of the boom of balls, dance parties, and social life of Prague’s inhabitants during the second half of the 19th century.

What was the purpose of the dance cards?

Dance cards emerged when the first balls were being held in the early 19th century, first in the courts of rulers, and later by the bourgeoisie, both in public spaces and private homes.  Along with their ball ticket, attendees received a dance card with a list of dances for the evening with a space next to it. A man asked a woman for her permission to dance in advance, and both of them noted the specific dance on their dance cards.

Works of art or kitsch?

Dance cards came in different materials, shapes, and with various decorations. They often had miniature pencils attached. The designs varied, from concertina books with embossed envelopes, to more pompous notebooks resembling miniature velvet book bindings, and even ranging to sophisticated original artistic compositions combining paper, metal, fabric, tassels, and feathers; and often the style referred to the ball organiser.

The fans were a fashion item of the era

Some dance cards also took the shape of a fan. At the end of the 19th century, the fans were often designed by popular artists. The fans began spreading throughout Europe in the 16th century, and rose to peak popularity in the 19th century. Fans from this period can be found in various shapes and materials according to the fashion of the time. This accessory had spread among all societal classes, which is why the preserved fans vary in quality from luxury items to basic styles.

Seeking the memories of the Velvet Revolution

The City of Prague Museum is preparing an exhibition, called "November 1989 in the Streets of Prague" for the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The curators are inviting members of the public to take part in the exhibition by loaning, selling or donating photographic and audiovisual materials to the Museum. Materials relating to activities of the independence movement in the Czech Capital prior to 1989 are also welcome.

Materials can be sent to the following address, no later than the 15th of February 2019:

Museum of the Capital City of Prague, Pod Viaduktem 2595, 15500, Prague 5, Czech Republic

Contact details: Mgr. Renáta Kalašová, e-mail:  tel.: +420/251 106 566



Venue: Main building of The City of Prague Museum, 1st floor

Address: Na Poříčí 52, Prague 8

Dates: 07/01/2019 - 01/04/2019

Admission fees: CZK 150/60