The exhibition will introduce visitors to women in the Czech postal service from the first half of the 16th century until the recent past. The post office was one of the few state institutions in which women could work, under certain circumstances, since its foundation.
The exhibition also commemorates the 150th anniversary of women’s employment in the Austrian-Hungarian postal administration (from the 7th of April 1869) and unearths previously unknown facts about female emancipation and women’s rights.
How did it begin?
At the time, it was very unusual for women to be able to work at the post office. Women were mostly active in the home where they took care of their husband and children. So how was it possible and what prompted them to become respected partners in a predominantly male environment?
The answer lies in the fact that the post office needed women in order to continue running smoothly. For example, when the postmaster died, he had to be replaced immediately by someone else. If there was no male successor, a female successor took the role.
However, it was not quite as easy as it sounds. Women were not granted equal rights to men in the post office for another while. For example, some of the conditions in order to work in the post office were a ban on getting married and being celibate.
Female postmasters also had to be supervised by an administrator.
Objects, devices and stories
The exhibition, full of large-format thematic panels with period photographs, is in several rooms divided chronologically in three. It is complemented by very rare historical objects and apparatus, including typewriters, scales, inkwells, postal shields, mailboxes, stamps, forms, note papers, and even crucifixes.
There are also biographical vignettes of specific persons and interesting stories, whose often convoluted fates impressively demonstrate the transformations of women in the postal environment.
Visitors can also explore the premises and find themselves in the role of a “woman at the post office”.
The exhibition will be open until the 12th of April. For further information, please visit the museum’s website: https://www.postovnimuzeum.cz/en/.