A Museum Persevering
This museum has been featured on Pickled Wings since 2013, when they were still based in the eastern city of Olomouc.
Unfortunately, due to eviction from the two buildings they had been calling home, the museum was not able to open to the public for the 2015 season and was sent looking for a new home.
Eventually, the museum managed to find new accommodation near the small town of Koněšín, in the Vysočina highlands region of the Czech Republic, and officially reopened to the public in July of 2016.
In July of 2018, I was finally able to pay the museum a visit. While I am happy to see they were able to find a place to open their collection to the public, I could not help but be quite sad at the state of it and the surroundings.
The museum had moved from hangared accommodation at an airport that was easily accessible to a small, exposed grassy patch near a small town that is rather challenging to access without a car.
The Mystery of Koněšín
As I mentioned in the previous section, Koněšín is a small and somewhat remote place. When I got off the bus to pay my visit to the museum, I was struck by how quiet the town was. It begged the question in my mind of “Why put an air museum here?”.
As it turns out, the museum is not directly in the townsite, rather a 20 minute walk along a dirt road from the nearest bus stop. The land it’s located on is called “Radarka”.
The spot is a former radar point attached to the nearby air base at Naměšť nad Oslavou and the small camouflaged building on the site that houses the museum’s ticket office, indoor display and public washrooms stands as evidence of previous military usage and assistance rendered to the museum by the base.
Additionally, as posted on the museum’s Facebook page, the base provided the museum some hangar space to repaint their Mil Mi-24 “Hind” helicopter in early 2018 to mark the type’s 40th anniversary in Czech military service. Presumably, since the repaint, the helicopter will only be publicly viewable at select events that the museum sends represetation to.
This evidence of assitance from the base to the museum gives the Koněšín location a bit more sense to me than it had previously.
The Collection at Koněšín
After paying the modest ticket fee, I ventured around the back of the camouflaged building and took a moment to absorb what was in front of me.
Roughly a dozen aircraft in various states of completion, plus a variety of other items, were arranged around the perimiter of the area. It was an idylic country morning, but the morning dew soaking through my shoes from the longish grass showed a situation that was certainly not ideal for preserving aircraft or other machinery.
Some of the aircraft on display were familiar to me from the museum’s collection in Olomouc, while others were new to me. What really stood out to me about the aircraft on view was that almost half of them were prototype aircraft and some quite rare indeed and deserving of protection from the elements.
One of the aircraft that was new to me, and quite interesting, was the Wolfsberg Corvus 1F.
It was an unsuccessful joint project between Belgium and the Czech Republic to create a small twin engined piston powered transport that could be marketed to smaller operators on islands or other remote areas that had smaller operating budgets. The aircraft was very much in the spirit of the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.
The Corvus itself was an improved third variation prototype of the aircraft. The aircraft was first known as the Raven and the Corvus was created to fix the Raven’s many shortcomings. The Raven prototype exists off public view in the east of the country and the Corvus is at Koněšín as your only opportunity to see a representative of this little known aircraft family.
After spending some time examining and photographing the outdoor exhibits, I took a look at their very small indoor display, which is through a doorway to your right as you enter the ticket office building.
The space is small, but quite packed with a range of items that include avionics components, engines, the nose and cockpit from a MiG-21 fighter as well as a Link Trainer.
The museum has a small selection of souvenir items available that includes t-shirts, coffee cups, key chains and plastic model kits.
There is also a small selection of cold drinks to buy if you need to refresh yourself.
The Museum in the Bigger Picture
Given that the museum’s current public display is smaller and more challenging to access that their previous one, it would be best to give some time to the museum’s activities that take place outside of public view.
Aside of their own exhibits, the restoration staff at the Koněšín museum have been active for a number of years in helping to restore aircraft for other museums and groups.
If you have ever visited the Kbely aircraft museum in Prague and taken a moment to marvel at the Tupolev Tu-104 airliner that takes pride of place in their outdoor collection, people from Koněšín had a hand in making that exhibit the amazing one that it is. They have also participated in the restoration of the DeHavilland Vampire, Lisunov Li-2 and Lockheed T-33 that can also be found in the Kbely collection.
Paying a Visit and Learning More
As I’ve mentioned already, this is not the easiest museum to access without a car. Partly this is because of the town having no rail access and only light bus service. Additionally, the museum’s hours are quite limited outside of July and August.
Buses to Koněšín can be taken from Třebíč or Náměšť nad Oslavou. Koněšín has two bus stops and the one closest to the museum is “Koněšín rozcesti”. If you try for the bus, write the name of the stop to show the driver as they very likely will speak only Czech.
I reached the museum by a combination of a train from Brno to Náměšť nad Oslavou and the bus to Koněšín from there. I arranged my trip to get me to the museum for opening time and everything went well in that regard. However, after I had seen the museum, I was left with roughly two hours to kill before the bus back to Náměšť was due to arrive and there didn’t seem much to do with only two hours in Koněšín save going to the pub at the local sports grounds and having a few pints of beer.
Does this mean I don’t recommend you visiting this museum if you don’t have a car? Absolutely not! In fact, I can suggest taking more time in the area and enjoying the beautiful nature and outdoor activities the Vysočina region that Koněšín is part of can offer the visitor and perhaps a quite memorable way to reach the museum.
On the opposite side of the townsite from the museum lies the Dalešice reservoir and one of five wharves that serve as stops for the passenger boat service that operates on the reservoir. The reservoir is a very popular and picturesque area with many opportunities for water sports, hiking, cycling and camping.
You could take accomodation at another place near the reservoir and enjoy a scenic boat trip to Koněšín to see the museum that way.
This link will take you to the museum web site for more info, it’s in Czech but has a translator function. A link to the museum’s Facebook page can also be found there:
This link will take you to the passenger boat service that runs on the Dalešice reservoir. There you can find more information about what the area of the reservoir offers as well as schedules for the boats: